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Full text of "The marrow of tradition"

THE MXRROW, 



TRADITION, 






CHMRLES W. CHESNUTT 




S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 



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m$mlth UlT TOLA S MITH ELBERT 188.. 
XV KAIHARIH3!LE»_C0MAH 



THE 


Cijarles W. Cbesmtttt 


CONJURE WOMAN. i6mo, $1.25. 


THE 


WIFE OF HIS YOUTH. Illustrated. Crown 


8vo 


, $1.50. 


THE 


HOUSE BEHIND THE CEDARS. Crown 


Svo 


, $1.50. 


THE 


MARROW OF TRADITION. Crown 8vo, $1.50. 




HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. 




Boston and New York. 



THE MARROW OF 
TRADITION 



BY 



CHAELES W. CHESNUTT 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

(£be fitoerjsi&e pre?£, Cambri&0e 

1901 



COPYRIGHT, I90I, BY CHARLES W. CHESNUTT 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



I like you and your book, ingenious Hone ! 
In whose capacious all-embracing leaves 
The very marrow of tradition 's shown. 

CHARLES LAMB, 

To the Editor of the Every -Day Booh. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. At Break of Day ....... 1 

II. The Christening Party 12 

III. The Editor at Work 28 

IV. Theodore Felix 40 

V. A Journey Southward .48 

VI. Janet 63 

VII. The Operation .68 

VIII. The Campaign drags ...... 79 

IX. A White Man's " Nigger " . . . . .84 

X. Delamere plays a Trump ..... 93 

XI. The Baby and the Bird 104 

XII. Another Southern Product .... 109 

XIII. The Cakewalk 115 

XIV. The Maunderings of Old Mrs. Ochiltree . 123 
XV. Mrs. Carteret seeks an Explanation . . 132 

XVI. Ellis takes a Trick 140 

XVII. The Social Aspirations of Captain McBane . 154 

XVIII. Sandy sees his own Ha'nt 166 

XIX. A Midnight Walk 171 

XX. A Shocking Crime 175 

XXI. The Necessity of an Example .... 180 

XXII. HOW NOT TO PREVENT A LYNCHING . . . 187 

XXIII. Belleview . . " 196 

XXIV. Two Southern Gentlemen 202 

XXV. The Honor of a Family 210 

XXVI. The Discomfort of Ellis 216 



vi CONTENTS 

XXVII. The Vagaeies of the Higher Law . . . 222 

XXVIII. In Season and Out . . . ... . 236 

XXIX. MlJTTERINGS OF THE StORM 248 

XXX. The Missing Papers 254 

XXXI. The Shadow of a Dream 268 

XXXII. The Storm breaks 274 

XXXIII. Into the Lion's Jaws 285 

XXXIV. The Valley of the Shadow .... 293 
XXXV. " Mine Enemy, Mine Enemy ! " . . .298 

XXXVI. Fiat Justitia 311 

XXXVH. The Sisters 323 



THE MARROW OF TRADITION 



AT BREAK OF DAY 



" Stay here beside her, major. I shall not be 
needed for an hour yet. Meanwhile I '11 go down- 
stairs and snatch a bit of sleep, or talk to old Jane." 

The night was hot and sultry. Though the win- 
dows of the chamber were wide open, and the muslin 
curtains looped back, not a breath of air was stirring. 
Only the shrill chirp of the cicada and the muffled 
croaking of the frogs in some distant marsh broke the 
night silence. The heavy scent of magnolias, over- 
powering even the strong smell of drugs in the sick- 
room, suggested death and funeral wreaths, sorrow 
and tears, the long home, the last sleep. The major 
shivered with apprehension as the slender hand which 
he held in his own contracted nervously and in a 
spasm of pain clutched his fingers with a viselike grip. 

Major Carteret, though dressed in brown linen, had 
thrown off his coat for greater comfort. The stifling 
heat, in spite of the palm-leaf fan which he plied 
mechanically, was scarcely less oppressive than his 
own thoughts. Long ago, while yet a mere boy in 
years, he had come back from Appomattox to find his 
family, one of the oldest and proudest in the state, 
hopelessly impoverished by the war, — even their an- 



2 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

cestral home swallowed up in the common ruin. His 
elder brother had sacrificed his life on the bloody altar 
of the lost cause, and his father, broken and chagrined, 
died not many years later, leaving the major the last 
of his line. He had tried in various pursuits to 
gain a foothold in the new life, but with indifferent 
success until he won the hand of Olivia Merkell, 
whom he had seen grow from a small girl to glorious 
womanhood. With her money he had founded the 
Morning Chronicle, which he had made the leading 
organ of his party and the most influential paper in 
the State. The fine old house in which they lived 
was hers. In this very room she had first drawn the 
breath of life ; it had been their nuptial chamber ; 
and here, too, within a few hours, she might die, for 
it seemed impossible that one could long endure such 
frightful agony and live. 

One cloud alone had marred the otherwise perfect 
serenity of their happiness. Olivia was childless. 
To have children to perpetuate the name of which he 
was so proud, to write it still higher on the roll of 
honor, had been his dearest hope. His disappoint- 
ment had been proportionately keen. A few months 
ago this dead hope had revived, and altered the whole 
aspect of their lives. But as time went on, his wife's 
age had begun to tell upon her, until even Dr. Price, 
the most cheerful and optimistic of physicians, had 
warned him, while hoping for the best, to be prepared 
for the worst. To add to the danger, Mrs. Carteret 
had only this day suffered from a nervous shock, which, 
it was feared, had hastened by several weeks the ex- 
pected event. 

Dr. Price went downstairs to the library, where a 



AT BREAK OF DAY 3 

dim light was burning. An old black woman, dressed 
in a gingham frock, with a red bandana handkerchief 
coiled around her head by way of turban, was seated 
by an open window. She rose and curtsied as the 
doctor entered and dropped into a willow rocking- 
chair near her own. 

" How did this happen, Jane ? " he asked in a sub- 
dued voice, adding, with assumed severity, " You ought 
to have taken better care of your mistress." 

"Now look a-hyuh, Doctuh Price," returned the 
old woman in an unctuous whisper, " you don' wanter 
come talkin' none er yo' foolishness 'bout my not 
takin' keer er Mis' 'Livy. She never would 'a' said 
sech a thing ! Seven er eight mont's ago, w'en she 
sent fer me, I says ter her, says I : — 

" 4 Lawd, Lawd, honey ! You don' tell me dat after 
all dese long w'ary years er waitin' de good Lawd is 
done heared yo' prayer an' is gwine ter sen' you de 
chile you be'n wantin' so long an' so bad ? Bless his 
holy name ! Will I come an' nuss yo' baby ? Why, 
honey, I nussed you, an' nussed yo' mammy thoo 
her las' sickness, an' laid her out w'en she died. I 
would n' let nobody e'se nuss yo' baby ; an' mo'over, 
I 'm gwine ter come an' nuss you too. You 're young 
side er me, Mis' 'Livy, but you 're ove'ly ole ter be 
havin' yo' fus' baby, an' you '11 need somebody roun', 
honey, w'at knows all 'bout de fam'ly, an' deir ways 
an' deir weaknesses, an' I don' know who dat 'd be ef 
it wa'n't me.' 

" ' 'Deed, Mammy Jane,' says she, ' dere ain' no- 
body e'se I 'd have but you. You kin come ez soon 
ez you wanter an' stay ez long ez you mineter.' 

" An hyuh I is, an' hyuh I 'm gwine ter stay. Fer 
Mis' 'Livy is my ole mist'ess's daughter, an' my ole 



4 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

mist'ess wuz good ter me, an' dey am' none er her 
folks gwine ter suffer ef ole Jane kin he'p it." 

" Your loyalty does you credit, Jane," observed the 
doctor ; " but you have n't told me yet what happened 
to Mrs. Carteret to-day. -Did the horse run away, 
or did she see something that frightened her ? " 

" No, suh, de boss did n' git skeered at nothin', but 
Mis' 'Livy did see somethin', er somebody ; an' it 
wa'n't no fault er mine ner her'n neither, — it goes 
fu'ther back, suh, fu'ther dan dis day er dis year. 
Does you 'member de time w'en my ole mist'ess, Mis' 
'Livy upstairs's mammy, died ? No ? Well, you wuz 
prob'ly 'way ter school den, studyin' ter be a doctuh. 
But I '11 tell you all erbout it. 

" Wen my ole mist'ess, Mis' 'Liz'beth Merkell, — 
an' a good mist'ess she wuz, — tuck sick f er de las' 
time, her sister Polly — ole Mis' Polly Ochiltree w'at 
is now — come ter de house ter he'p nuss her. Mis' 
'Livy upstairs yander wuz erbout six years ole den, 
de sweetes' little angel you ever laid eyes on ; an' on 
her dyin' bed Mis' 'Liz'beth ax' Mis' Polly fer ter 
stay hyuh an' take keer er her chile, an' Mis' Polly 
she promise'. She wuz a widder fer de secon' time, 
an' did n' have no child'en, an' could jes' as well 
come as not. 

" But dere wuz trouble after de fune'al, an' it hap- 
pen' right hyuh in dis lib'ary. Mars Sam wuz settin' 
by de table, w'en Mis' Polly come downstairs, slow an' 
solemn, an' stood dere in de middle er de flo', all in 
black, till Mars Sam sot a cheer fer her. 

" ' Well, Samuel,' says she, ' now dat we 've done 
all we can fer po' 'Liz'beth, it only 'mains fer us ter 
consider Olivia's future.' 

" Mars Sam nodded his head, but did n' say nothin'. 



AT BREAK OF DAY 5 

" ' I don' need ter tell you,' says she, ' dat I am 
willin' ter carry out de wishes er my dead sister, an' 
sac'ifice my own comfo't, an* make myse'f yo' house- 
keeper an' yo' child's nuss, fer my dear sister's sake. 
It wuz her dyin' wish, an' on it I will ac', ef it is also 

yo'n.' 

" Mars Sam did n' want Mis' Polly ter come, suh ; 
fur he did n' like Mis' Polly. He wuz skeered er 
Miss Polly." 

" I don't wonder," yawned the doctor, " if she was 
anything like she is now." 

" Wuss, suh, fer she wuz younger, an' stronger. 
She always would have her say, no matter 'bout what, 
an' her own way, no matter who 'posed her. She had 
already be'n in de house fer a week, an' Mars Sam 
knowed ef she once come ter stay, she 'd be de mist'ess 
of eve'ybody in it an' him too. But w'at could he do 
but say yas ? 

" ' Den it is unde'stood, is it,' says Mis' Polly, w'en 
he had spoke, ' dat I am ter take cha'ge er de house ? ' 

" ' All right, Polly,' says Mars Sam, wid a deep 
sigh. 

" Mis' Polly 'lowed he wuz sighin' fer my po' dead 
mist'ess, fer she did n' have no idee er his feelin's 
to'ds her, — she alluz did 'low dat all de gent'emen 
wuz in love wid 'er. 

" ' You won' fin' much ter do,' Mars Sam went on, 
4 fer Julia is a good housekeeper, an' kin ten' ter mos' 
eve'ything, under yo' d'rections.' 

" Mis' Polly stiffen' up like a ramrod. ' It mus' be 
unde'stood, Samuel,' says she, 'dat w'en I 'sumes 
cha'ge er yo' house, dere ain' gwine ter be no 'vided 
'sponsibility ; an' as fer dis Julia, me an' her could n' 
git 'long tergether nohow. Ef I stays, Julia goes.' 



6 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Wen Mars Sam heared dat, he felt better, an' 
'mence' ter pick up his courage. Mis' Polly had 
showed her han' too plain. My mist'ess had n' got col' 
yit, an' Mis' Polly, who 'd be'n a widder f er two years 
dis las' time, wuz already fig'rin' on takin' her place 
f er good, an' she did n' want no other woman roun' de 
house dat Mars Sam might take a' intrus' in. 

" ' My dear Polly,' says Mars Sam, quite determine', 
' I could n' possibly sen,' Julia 'way. Fac' is, I could n' 
git 'long widout Julia. She 'd be'n runnin' dis house 
like clockwo'k befo' you come, an' I likes her ways. 
My dear, dead 'Liz'beth sot a heap er sto' by Julia, 
an' I 'm gwine ter keep her here fer 'Liz'beth's sake.' 

" Mis' Polly's eyes flash' fire. 

" ' Ah,' says she, ' I see — I see ! You perf ers her 
housekeepin' ter mine, indeed ! Dat is a fine way ter 
talk ter a lady ! An' a heap er rispec' you is got fer 
de mem'ry er my po' dead sister ! ' 

" Mars Sam knowed w'at she 'lowed she seed wa'n't 
so ; but he did n' let on, fer it only made him de safer. 
He wuz willin' fer her ter 'magine w'at she please', 
jes' so long ez she kep' out er his house an' let him 
alone. 

" ' No, Polly,' says he, gittin' bolder ez she got mad- 
der, ' dere ain' no use talkin'. Nothin' in de worl' would 
make me part wid Julia.' 

" Mis' Polly she r'ared an' she pitch', but Mars Sam 
helt on like grim death. Mis' Polly would n' give in 
neither, an' so she fin'lly went away. Dey made some 
kind er 'rangement afterwa'ds, an' Miss Polly tuck 
Mis' 'Livy ter her own house. Mars Sam paid her 
bo'd an' lowed Mis' Polly somethin' fer takin' keer 
er her." 

"And Julia stayed?" 



AT BREAK OF DAY 7 

" Julia stayed, suh, an' a couple er years later her 
chile wuz bawn, right here in dis house." 

" But you said," observed the doctor, " that Mrs. 
Ochiltree was in error about Julia." 

" Yas, suh, so she wuz, w'en my ole mist'ess died. 
But dis wuz two years after, — an' w'at has ter be has 
ter be. Julia had a easy time ; she had a black gal 
ter wait on her, a buggy to ride in, an' eve'ything she 
wanted. Eve'ybody s'posed Mars Sam would give her 
a house an' lot, er leave her somethin' in his will. But 
he died suddenly, and did n' leave no will, an' Mis' 
Polly got herse'f 'pinted gyardeen ter young Mis' 
'Livy, an' driv Julia an' her young un out er de house, 
an' lived here in dis house wid Mis' 'Livy till Mis' 
'Livy ma'ied Majah Carteret." 

" And what became of Julia ? " asked Dr. Price. 

Such relations, the doctor knew very well, had been 
all too common in the old slavery days, and not a few 
of them had been projected into the new era. Sins, 
like snakes, die hard. The habits and customs of a 
people were not to be changed in a day, nor by the 
stroke of a pen. As family physician, and father con- 
fessor by brevet, Dr. Price had looked upon more than 
one hidden skeleton ; and no one in town had had 
better opportunities than old Jane for learning the 
undercurrents in the lives of the old families. 

" Well," resumed Jane, " eve'ybody s'posed, after 
w'at had happen', dat Julia 'd keep on livin' easy, fer 
she wuz young an' good-lookin'. But she did n'. She 
tried ter make a livin' sewin', but Mis' Polly would n' 
let de bes' w'ite folks hire her. Den she tuck up 
washin', but did n' do no better at dat ; an' bimeby 
she got so discourage' dat she ma'ied a shif 'less yaller 
man, an' died er consumption soon after, — an' wuz 



8 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

'bout ez well off, f er dis man could n' hardly feed her 
nohow." 

"And the child?" 

" One er de No'the'n w'ite lady teachers at de mis- 
sion school tuck a likin' ter little Janet, an' put her 
thoo school, an' den sent her off ter de No'th fer ter 
study ter be a school teacher. Wen she come back, 
'stead er teachin' she ma'ied ole Adam Miller's son." 

" The rich stevedore's son, Dr. Miller ? " 

" Yas, suh, dat 's de man, — you knows 'im. Dis 
yer boy wuz jes' gwine 'way fer ter study ter be a doc- 
tuh, an' he ma'ied dis Janet, an' tuck her 'way wid 
'im. Dey went off ter Europe, er Irope, er Orope, er 
somewhere er 'nother, 'way off yander, an' come back 
here las' year an' sta'ted dis yer horspital an' school 
fer ter train de black gals fer nusses." 

" He 's a very good doctor, Jane, and is doing a 
useful work. Your chapter of family history is quite 
interesting, — I knew part of it before, in a general 
way ; but you have n't yet told me what brought on 
Mrs. Carteret's trouble." 

" I 'm jes' comin' ter dat dis minute, suh, — w'at I 
be'n tellin' you is all a part of it. Dis yer Janet, 
w'at 's Mis' 'Livy's half-sister, is ez much like her ez 
ef dey wuz twins. Folks sometimes takes 'em fer one 
ernudder, — I s'pose it tickles Janet mos' ter death, 
but it do make Mis' 'Livy rippin'. An' den 'way back 
yander jes' after de wah, w'en de ole Carteret mansion 
had ter be sol', Adam Miller bought it, an' dis yer 
Janet an' her husban' is be'n livin' in it ever sence 
ole Adam died, 'bout a year ago ; an' dat makes de 
majah mad, 'ca'se he don' wanter see cullud folks livin' 
in de ole fam'ly mansion w'at he wuz bawn in. An' 
mo'over, an' dat 's de wust of all, w'iles Mis' 'Livy ain' 



AT BREAK OF DAY 9 

had no child'en befo', dis yer sister er her'n is got a 
fine-lookin' little yaller boy, w'at favors de fam'ly so 
dat ef Mis' 'Livy 'd see de chile anywhere, it 'd mos' 
break her heart fer ter think 'bout her not havin' no 
child'en herse'f . So ter-day, w'en Mis' 'Livy wuz out 
ridin' an' met dis yer Janet wid her boy, an' w'en Mis' 
'Livy got ter studyin' 'bout her own chances, an' how 
she mought not come thoo safe, she jes' had a fit er 
hysterics right dere in de buggy. She wuz mos' home, 
an' William got her here, an' you knows de res'. " 

Major Carteret, from the head of the stairs, called 
the doctor anxiously. 

" You had better come along up now, Jane," said 
the doctor. 

For two long hours they fought back the grim spec- 
tre that stood by the bedside. The child was born at 
dawn. Both mother and child, the doctor said, would 
live. 

" Bless its 'ittle hea't ! " exclaimed Mammy Jane, as 
she held up the tiny mite, which bore as much resem- 
blance to mature humanity as might be expected of an 
infant which had for only a few minutes drawn the 
breath of life. " Bless its 'ittle hea't ! it 's de ve'y spit 
an' image er its pappy ! " 

The doctor smiled. The major laughed aloud. 
Jane's unconscious witticism, or conscious flattery, 
whichever it might be, was a welcome diversion from 
the tense strain of the last few hours. 

"Be that as it may," said Dr. Price cheerfully, 
" and I '11 not dispute it, the child is a very fine boy, 
— a very fine boy, indeed ! Take care of it, major," 
he added with a touch of solemnity, " for your wife 
can never bear another." 

With the child's first cry a refreshing breeze from 



10 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the distant ocean cooled the hot air of the chamber ; 
the heavy odor of the magnolias, with its mortuary 
suggestiveness, gave place to the scent of rose and 
lilac and honeysuckle. The birds in the garden were 
singing lustily. 

All these sweet and pleasant things found an echo 
in the major's heart. He stood by the window, and 
looking toward the rising sun, breathed a silent prayer 
of thanksgiving. All nature seemed to rejoice in sym- 
pathy with his happiness at the fruition of this long- 
deferred hope, and to predict for this wonderful child 
a bright and glorious future. 

Old Mammy Jane, however, was not entirely at ease 
concerning the child. She had discovered, under its 
left ear, a small mole, which led her to fear that the 
child was born for bad luck. Had the baby been 
black, or yellow, or poor-white, Jane would unhesitat- 
ingly have named, as his ultimate fate, a not uncom- 
mon form of taking off, usually resultant upon the 
infraction of certain laws, or, in these swift modern 
days, upon too violent a departure from established 
social customs. It was manifestly impossible that a 
child of such high quality as the grandson of her old 
mistress should die by judicial strangulation ; but 
nevertheless the warning was a serious thing, and 
not to be lightly disregarded. 

Not wishing to be considered as a prophet of evil 
omen, Jane kept her own counsel in regard to this sig- 
nificant discovery. But later, after the child was 
several days old, she filled a small vial with water in 
which the infant had been washed, and took it to a cer- 
tain wise old black woman, who lived on the farther 
edge of the town and was well known to be versed in 
witchcraft and conjuration. The conjure woman added 



AT BREAK OF DAY 11 

to the contents of the bottle a hit of calamus root, and 
one of the cervical vertebrae from the skeleton of a 
black cat, with several other mysterious ingredients, 
the nature of which she did not disclose. Following in- 
structions given her, Aunt Jane buried the bottle in 
Carteret's back yard, one night during the full moon, 
as a good-luck charm to ward off evil from the little 
grandson of her dear mistress, so long since dead and 
gone to heaven. 



II 

THE CHRISTENING PARTY 

They named the Carteret baby Theodore Felix. 
Theodore was a family name, and had been borne by 
the eldest son for several generations, the major him- 
self being a second son. Having thus given the child 
two beautiful names, replete with religious and senti- 
mental significance, they called him — " Dodie." 

The baby was christened some six weeks after its 
birth, by which time Mrs. Carteret was able to be out. 
Old Mammy Jane, who had been brought up in the 
church, but who, like some better informed people in 
all ages, found religion not inconsistent with a strong 
vein of superstition, felt her fears for the baby's future 
much relieved when the rector had made the sign of 
the cross and sprinkled little Dodie with the water 
from the carved marble font, which had come from 
England in the reign of King Charles the Martyr, 
as the ill-fated son of James I. was known to St. 
Andrew's. Upon this special occasion Mammy Jane 
had been provided with a seat downstairs among the 
white people, to her own intense satisfaction, and to 
the secret envy of a small colored attendance in the 
gallery, to whom she was ostentatiously pointed out 
by her grandson Jerry, porter at the Morning Chron- 
icle office, who sat among them in the front row. 

On the following Monday evening the major gave 
a christening party in honor of this important event. 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 13 

Owing to Mrs. Carteret's still delicate health, only a 
small number of intimate friends and family connec- 
tions were invited to attend. These were the rector 
of St. Andrew's ; old Mrs. Polly Ochiltree, the god- 
mother ; old Mr. Delamere, a distant relative and also 
one of the sponsors ; and his grandson, Tom Delamere. 
The major had also invited Lee Ellis, his young city 
editor, for whom he had a great liking apart from 
his business value, and who was a frequent visitor at 
the house. These, with the family itself, which con- 
sisted of the major, his wife, and his half-sister, Clara 
Pemberton, a young woman of about eighteen, made 
up the eight persons for whom covers were laid. 

Ellis was the first to arrive, a tall, loose-limbed young 
man, with a slightly freckled face, hair verging on 
auburn, a firm chin, and honest gray eyes. He had 
come half an hour early, and was left alone for a few 
minutes in the parlor, a spacious, high-ceilinged room, 
with large windows, and fitted up in excellent taste, 
with stately reminiscences of a past generation. The 
walls were hung with figured paper. The ceiling was 
whitewashed, and decorated in the middle with a plaster 
centre-piece, from which hung a massive chandelier 
sparkling with prismatic rays from a hundred crystal 
pendants. There was a handsome mantel, set with 
terra-cotta tiles, on which fauns and satyrs, nymphs 
and dryads, disported themselves in idyllic abandon. 
The furniture was old, and in keeping with the room. 

At seven o'clock a carriage drove up, from which 
alighted an elderly gentleman, with white hair and 
mustache, and bowed somewhat with years. Short of 
breath and painfully weak in the legs, he was assisted 
from the carriage by a colored man, apparently about 
forty years old, to whom short side-whiskers and spec- 



14 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

tacles imparted an air of sobriety. This attendant gave 
his arm respectfully to the old gentleman, who leaned 
upon it heavily, but with as little appearance of depend- 
ence as possible. The servant, assuming a similar 
unconsciousness of the weight resting upon his arm, 
assisted the old gentleman carefully up the steps. 

" I'm all right now, Sandy," whispered the gentle- 
man as soon as his feet were planted firmly on the 
piazza. " You may come back for me at nine o'clock." 

Having taken his hand from his servant's arm, he 
advanced to meet a lady who stood in the door await- 
ing him, a tall, elderly woman, gaunt and angular of 
frame, with a mottled face, and high cheekbones par- 
tially covered by bands of hair entirely too black and 
abundant for a person of her age, if one might judge 
from the lines of her mouth, which are rarely decep- 
tive in such matters. 

" Perhaps you 'd better not send your man away, Mr. 
Delamere," observed the lady, in a high shrill voice, 
which grated upon the old gentleman's ears. He was 
slightly hard of hearing, but, like most deaf people, 
resented being screamed at. " You might need him 
before nine o'clock. One never knows what may 
happen after one has had the second stroke. And 
moreover, our butler has fallen down the back steps — 
negroes are so careless ! — and sprained his ankle so 
that he can't stand. I 'd like to have Sandy stay and 
wait on the table in Peter's place, if you don't mind." 

" I thank you, Mrs. Ochiltree, for your solicitude," 
replied Mr. Delamere, with a shade of annoyance in 
his voice, " but my health is very good just at pre- 
sent, and I do not anticipate any catastrophe which 
will require my servant's presence before I am ready 
to go home. But I have no doubt, madam," he con- 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 15 

tinued, with a courteous inclination, " that Sandy will 
be pleased to serve you, if you desire it, to the best of 
his poor knowledge." 

" I shill be honored, ma'am," assented Sandy, with 
a bow even deeper than his master's, " only I 'm 
'feared I ain't rightly dressed fer ter wait on table. 
I wuz only goin' ter pra'r-meetin', an' so I did n' 
put on my bes' clo's. Ef Mis' Ochiltree ain' gwine 
ter need me fer de nex' fifteen minutes, I kin ride 
back home in de ca'ige an' dress myse'f suitable fer 
de occasion, suh." 

" If you think you '11 wait on the table any better," 
said Mrs. Ochiltree, " you may go along and change 
your clothes ; but hurry back, for it is seven now, and 
dinner will soon be served." 

Sandy retired with a bow. While descending the 
steps to the carriage, which had waited for him, he 
came face to face with a young man just entering 
the house. 

" Am I in time for dinner, Sandy ? " asked the 
newcomer. 

" Yas, Mistuh Tom, you 're in plenty er time. Din- 
ner won't be ready till / git back, which won' be fer 
fifteen minutes er so yit." 

Throwing away the cigarette which he held between 
his fingers, the young man crossed the piazza with a 
light step, and after a preliminary knock, for an 
answer to which he did not wait, entered the house 
with the air of one thoroughly at home. The lights 
in the parlor had been lit, and Ellis, who sat talking 
to Major Carteret when the newcomer entered, covered 
him with a jealous glance. 

Slender and of medium height, with a small head 
of almost perfect contour, a symmetrical face, dark 



16 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

almost to swarthiness, black eyes, which moved some- 
what restlessly, curly hair of raven tint, a slight 
mustache, small hands and feet, and fashionable attire, 
Tom Delamere, the grandson of the old gentleman 
who had already arrived, was easily the handsomest 
young man in Wellington. But no discriminating 
observer would have characterized his beauty as manly. 
It conveyed no impression of strength, but did possess 
a certain element, feline rather than feminine, which 
subtly negatived the idea of manliness. 

He gave his hand to the major, nodded curtly to 
Ellis, saluted his grandfather respectfully, and in- 
quired for the ladies. 

" Olivia is dressing for dinner," replied the major ; 
" Mrs. Ochiltree is in the kitchen, struggling with the 
servants. Clara — Ah, here she comes now ! " 

Ellis, whose senses were preter naturally acute where 
Clara was concerned, was already looking toward the 
hall and was the first to see her. Clad in an evening 
gown of simple white, to the close-fitting Corsage of 
which she had fastened a bunch of pink roses, she 
was to Ellis a dazzling apparition. To him her erect 
and well-moulded form was the embodiment of 
symmetry, her voice sweet music, her movements the 
perfection of grace ; and it scarcely needed a lover's 
imagination to read in her fair countenance a pure 
heart and a high spirit, — the truthfulness that scorns 
a lie, the pride which is not haughtiness. There were 
suggestive depths of tenderness, too, in the curl of her 
lip, the droop of her long lashes, the glance of her 
blue eyes, — depths that Ellis had long since divined, 
though he had never yet explored them. She gave 
Ellis a friendly nod as she came in, but for the smile 
with which she greeted Delamere, Ellis would have 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 17 

given all that lie possessed, — not a great deal, it is 
true, but what could a man do more ? 

" You are the last one, Tom," she said reproach- 
fully. " Mr. Ellis has been here half an hour." 

Delamere threw a glance at Ellis which was not 
exactly friendly. Why should this fellow always be 
on hand to emphasize his own shortcomings ? 

" The rector is not here," answered Tom trium- 
phantly. " You see I am not the last." 

" The rector," replied Clara, " was called out of 
town at six o'clock this evening, to visit a dying man, 
and so cannot be here. You are the last, Tom, and 
Mr. Ellis was the first." 

Ellis was ruefully aware that this comparison in his 
favor was the only visible advantage that he had 
gained from his early arrival. He had not seen Miss 
Pemberton a moment sooner by reason of it. There 
had been a certain satisfaction in being in the same 
house with her, but Delamere had arrived in time to 
share or, more correctly, to monopolize, the sunshine 
of her presence. 

Delamere gave a plausible excuse which won Clara's 
pardon and another enchanting smile, which pierced 
Ellis like a dagger. He knew very well that Dela- 
mere's excuse was a lie. Ellis himself had been ready 
as early as six o'clock, but judging this to be too early, 
had stopped in at the Clarendon Club for half an 
hour, to look over the magazines. While coming out 
he had glanced into the card-room, where he had 
seen his rival deep in a game of cards, from which 
Delamere had evidently not been able to tear himself 
until the last moment. He had accounted for his 
lateness by a story quite inconsistent with these facts. 

The two young people walked over to a window on 



18 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the opposite side of the large room, where they stood 
talking to one another in low tones. The major had 
left the room for a moment. Old Mr. Delamere, who 
was watching his grandson and Clara with an indul- 
gent smile, proceeded to rub salt into Ellis's wounds. 

" They make a handsome couple," he observed. " I 
remember well when her mother, in her youth an 
ideally beautiful woman, of an excellent family, 
married Daniel Pemberton, who was not of so good a 
family, but had made money. The major, who was 
only a very young man then, disapproved of the 
match ; he considered that his mother, although a 
widow and nearly forty, was marrying beneath her. 
But he has been a good brother to Clara, and a careful 
guardian of her estate. Ah, young gentleman, you 
cannot appreciate, except in imagination, what it 
means, to one standing on the brink of eternity, to 
feel sure that he will live on in his children and his 
children's children ! " 

Ellis was appreciating at that moment what it 
meant, in cold blood, with no effort of the imagination, 
to see the girl whom he loved absorbed completely in 
another man. She had looked at him only once since 
Tom Delamere had entered the room, and then merely 
to use him as a spur with which to prick his favored 
rival. 

" Yes, sir," he returned mechanically, " Miss Clara 
is a beautiful young lady." 

" And Tom is a good boy — a fine boy," returned 
the old gentleman. " I am very well pleased with 
Tom, and, shall be entirely happy when I see them 
married." 

Ellis could not echo this sentiment. The very 
thought of this marriage made him miserable. He 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 19 

had always understood that the engagement was merely 
tentative, a sort of family understanding, subject to 
confirmation after Delamere should have attained his 
majority, which was still a year off, and when the 
major should think Clara old enough to marry. Ellis 
saw Delamere with the eye of a jealous rival, and 
judged him mercilessly, — whether correctly or not 
the sequel will show. He did not at all believe that 
Tom Delamere would make a fit husband for Clara 
Pemberton ; but his opinion would have had no 
weight, — he could hardly have expressed it without 
showing his own interest. Moreover, there was no 
element of the sneak in Lee Ellis's make-up. The 
very fact that he might profit by the other's discom- 
fiture left Delamere secure, so far as he could be 
affected by anything that Ellis might say. But Ellis 
did not shrink from a fair fight, and though in this 
one the odds were heavily against him, yet so long 
as this engagement remained indefinite, so long, in- 
deed, as the object of his love was still unwed, he 
would not cease to hope. Such a sacrifice as this 
marriage clearly belonged in the catalogue of im- 
possibilities. Ellis had not lived long enough to learn 
that impossibilities are merely things of which we 
have not learned, or which we do not wish to happen. 
Sandy returned at the end of a quarter of an hour, 
and dinner was announced. Mr. Delamere led the 
way to the dining-room with Mrs. Ochiltree. Tom 
followed with Clara. The major went to the head 
of the stairs and came down with Mrs. Carteret upon 
his arm, her beauty rendered more delicate by the 
pallor of her countenance and more complete by the 
happiness with which it glowed. Ellis went in alone. 
In the rector's absence it was practically a family 



20 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

party which sat down, with the exception of Ellis, 
who, as we have seen, would willingly have placed 
himself in the same category. 

The table was tastefully decorated with flowers, 
which grew about the house in lavish profusion. In 
warm climates nature adorns herself with true fem- 
inine vanity. 

" What a beautiful table ! " exclaimed Tom, before 
they were seated. 

" The decorations are mine," said Clara proudly. 
" I cut the flowers and arranged them all myself." 

" Which accounts for the admirable effect," re- 
joined Tom with a bow, before Ellis, to whom the 
same thought had occurred, was able to express him- 
self. He had always counted himself the least envious 
of men, but for this occasion he coveted Tom Dela- 
mere's readiness. 

" The beauty of the flowers," observed old Mr. 
Delamere, with sententious gallantry, " is reflected 
upon all around them. It is a handsome company." 

Mrs. Ochiltree beamed upon the table with a dry 
smile. 

" I don't perceive any effect that it has upon you 
or me," she said. "And as for the young people, 
' Handsome is as handsome does.' If Tom here, for 
instance, were as good as he looks " — 

" You flatter me, Aunt Polly," Tom broke in hastily, 
anticipating the crack of the whip ; he was familiar 
with his aunt's conversational idiosyncrasies. 

" If you are as good as you look," continued the 
old lady, with a cunning but indulgent smile, " some 
one has been slandering you." 

" Thanks, Aunt Polly ! Now you don't flatter me." 

"There is Mr. Ellis," Mrs. Ochiltree went on, 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 21 

" who is not half so good-looking, but is steady as a 
clock, I dare say." 

44 Now, Aunt Polly," interposed Mrs. Carteret, " let 
the gentlemen alone." 

" She does n't mean half what she says," continued 
Mrs. Carteret apologetically, " and only talks that 
way to people whom she likes." 

Tom threw Mrs. Carteret a grateful glance. He 
had been apprehensive, with the sensitiveness of youth, 
lest his old great-aunt should make a fool of him 
before Clara's family. Nor had he relished the com- 
parison with Ellis, who was out of place, anyway, in 
this family party. He had never liked the fellow, 
who was too much of a plodder and a prig to make a 
suitable associate for a whole-souled, generous-hearted 
young gentleman. He tolerated him as a visitor at 
Carteret's and as a member of the Clarendon Club, 
but that was all. 

" Mrs. Ochiltree has a characteristic way of dis- 
guising her feelings," observed old Mr. Delamere, with 
a touch of sarcasm. 

Ellis had merely flushed and felt uncomfortable at 
the reference to himself. The compliment to his 
character hardly offset the reflection upon his looks. 
He knew he was not exactly handsome, but it was not 
pleasant to have the fact emphasized in the presence 
of the girl he loved ; he would like at least fair play, 
and judgment upon the subject left to the young lady. 

Mrs. Ochiltree was quietly enjoying herself. In 
early life she had been accustomed to impale fools on 
epigrams, like flies on pins, to see them wriggle. But 
with advancing years she had lost in some measure the 
faculty of nice discrimination, — it was pleasant to see 
her victims squirm, whether they were fools or friends. 



22 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Even one's friends, she argued, were not always wise, 
and were sometimes the better for being told the truth. 
At her niece's table she felt at liberty to speak her 
mind, which she invariably did, with a frankness that 
sometimes bordered on brutality. She had long ago 
outgrown the period where ambition or passion, or its 
partners, envy and hatred, were springs of action in 
her life, and simply retained a mild enjoyment in the 
exercise of an old habit, with no active malice what- 
ever. The ruling passion merely grew stronger as the 
restraining faculties decreased in vigor. 

A diversion was created at this point by the appear- 
ance of old Mammy Jane, dressed in a calico frock, 
with clean white neckerchief and apron, carrying the 
wonderful baby in honor of whose naming this feast 
had been given. Though only six weeks old, the 
little Theodore had grown rapidly, and Mammy Jane 
declared was already quite large for his age, and dis- 
played signs of an unusually precocious intelligence. 
He was passed around the table and duly admired. 
Clara thought his hair was fine. Ellis inquired about 
his teeth. Tom put his finger in the baby's fist to 
test his grip. Old Mr. Delamere was unable to decide 
as yet whether he favored most his father or his 
mother. The object of these attentions endured them 
patiently for several minutes, and then protested with 
a vocal vigor which led to his being taken promptly 
back upstairs. Whatever fate might be in store for 
him, he manifested no sign of weak lungs. 

" Sandy," said Mrs. Carteret when the baby had 
retired, " pass that tray standing upon the side table, 
so that we may all see the presents." 

Mr. Delamere had brought a silver spoon, and Tom 
a napkin ring. Ellis had sent a silver watch ; it was 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 23 

a little premature, lie admitted, but the boy would 
grow to it, and could use it to play with in the mean 
time. It had a glass back, so that he might see the 
wheels go round. Mrs. Ochiltree's present was an 
old and yellow ivory rattle, with a handle which the 
child could bite while teething, and a knob screwed 
on at the end to prevent the handle from slipping 
through the baby's hand. 

" I saw that in your cedar chest, Aunt Polly," said 
Clara, " when I was a little girl, and you used to pull 
the chest out from under your bed to get me a dime." 

" You kept the rattle in the right-hand corner of 
the chest," said Tom, " in the box with the red silk 
purse, from which you took the gold piece you gave 
me every Christmas." 

A smile shone on Mrs. Ochiltree's severe features 
at this appreciation, like a ray of sunlight on a snow- 
bank. 

" Aunt Polly's chest is like the widow's cruse," 
said Mrs. Carteret, " which was never empty." 

" Or Fortunatus's purse, which was always full," 
added old Mr. Delamere, who read the Latin poets, 
and whose allusions were apt to be classical rather 
than scriptural. 

" It will last me while I live," said Mrs. Ochiltree, 
adding cautiously, " but there '11 not be a great deal 
left. It won't take much to support an old woman 
for twenty years." 

Mr. Delamere's man Sandy had been waiting upon 
the table with the decorum of a trained butler, and a 
gravity all his own. He had changed his suit of plain 
gray for a long blue coat with brass buttons, which 
dated back to the fashion of a former generation, 
with which he wore a pair of plaid trousers of strik- 



24 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ingly modern cut and pattern. With his whiskers, 
his spectacles, and his solemn air of responsibility, he 
would have presented, to one unfamiliar with the 
negro type, an amusingly impressive appearance. But 
there was nothing incongruous about Sandy to this 
company, except perhaps to Tom Delamere, who 
possessed a keen eye for contrasts and always re- 
garded Sandy, in that particular rig, as a very comical 
darkey. 

" Is it quite prudent, Mrs. Ochiltree," suggested 
the major at a moment when Sandy, having set down 
the tray, had left the room for a little while, " to men- 
tion, in the presence of the servants, that you keep 
money in the house ? " 

" I beg your pardon, major," observed old Mr. 
Delamere, with a touch of stiffness. " The only ser- 
vant in hearing of the conversation has been my own ; 
and Sandy is as honest as any man in Wellington." 

" You mean, sir," replied Carteret, with a smile, 
" as honest as any negro in Wellington." 

"I make no exceptions, major," returned the old 
gentleman, with emphasis. " I would trust Sandy 
with my life, — he saved it once at the risk of his 
own." 

" No doubt," mused the major, " the negro is 
capable of a certain doglike fidelity, — I make the 
comparison in a kindly sense, — a certain personal 
devotion which is admirable in itself, and fits him 
eminently for a servile career. I should imagine, 
however, that one could more safely trust his life 
with a negro than his portable property." 

" Very clever, major ! I read your paper, and 
know that your feeling is hostile toward the negro, 
but" — 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 25 

The major made a gesture of dissent, but remained 
courteously silent until Mr. Delamere had finished. 

" For my part," the old gentleman went on, " I 
think they have done very well, considering what they 
started from, and their limited opportunities. There 
was Adam Miller, for instance, who left a comforta- 
ble estate. His son George carries on the business, 
and the younger boy, William, is a good doctor and 
stands well with his profession. His hospital is a 
good thing, and if my estate were clear, I should like 
to do something for it." 

" You are mistaken, sir, in imagining me hostile to 
the negro," explained Carteret. " On the contrary, 
I am friendly to his best interests. I give him em- 
ployment ; I pay taxes for schools to educate him, 
and for court-houses and jails to keep him in order. 
I merely object to being governed by an inferior and 
servile race." 

Mrs. Carteret's face wore a tired expression. This 
question was her husband's hobby, and therefore her 
own nightmare. Moreover, she had her personal 
grievance against the negro race, and the names men- 
tioned by old Mr. Delamere had brought it vividly 
before her mind. She had no desire to mar the har- 
mony of the occasion by the discussion of a distasteful 
subject. 

Mr. Delamere, glancing at his hostess, read some- 
thing of this thought, and refused the challenge to 
further argument. 

" I do not believe, major," he said, " that Olivia 
relishes the topic. I merely wish to say that Sandy 
is an exception to any rule which you may formulate 
in derogation of the negro. Sandy is a gentleman in 
ebony ! " 



26 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Tom could scarcely preserve his gravity at this 
characterization of old Sandy, with his ridiculous 
air of importance, his long blue coat, and his loud 
plaid trousers. That suit would make a great costume 
for a masquerade. He would borrow it some time, — 
there was nothing in the world like it. 

" Well, Mr. Delamere," returned the major good- 
humoredly, " no doubt Sandy is an exceptionally good 
negro, — he might well be, for he has had the benefit 
of your example all his life, — and we know that he 
is a faithful servant. But nevertheless, if I were 
Mrs. Ochiltree, I should put my money in the bank. 
Not all negroes are as honest as Sandy, and an elderly 
lady might not prove a match for a burly black 
burglar." 

" Thank you, major," retorted Mrs. Ochiltree, with 
spirit, " I 'm not yet too old to take care of myself. 
That cedar chest has been my bank for forty years, 
and I shall not change my habits at my age." 

At this moment Sandy reentered the room. Car- 
teret made a warning gesture, which Mrs. Ochiltree 
chose not to notice. 

" I 've proved a match for two husbands, and am 
not afraid of any man that walks the earth, black or 
white, by day or night. I have a revolver, and know 
how to use it. Whoever attempts to rob me will do 
so at his peril." 

After dinner Clara played the piano and sang duets 
with Tom Delamere. At nine o'clock Mr. Delamere's 
carriage came for him, and he went away accompa- 
nied by Sandy. Under cover of the darkness the old 
gentleman leaned on his servant's arm with frank 
dependence, and Sandy lifted him into the carriage 
with every mark of devotion. 



THE CHRISTENING PARTY 27 

Ellis had already excused himself to go to the 
office and look over the late proofs for the morning 
paper. Tom remained a few minutes longer than his 
grandfather, and upon taking his leave went round to 
the Clarendon Club, where he spent an hour or two 
in the card-room with a couple of congenial friends. 
Luck seemed to favor him, and he went home at mid- 
night with a comfortable balance of winnings. He 
was fond of excitement, and found a great deal of it 
in cards. To lose was only less exciting than to win. 
Of late he had developed into a very successful player, 
— so successful, indeed, that several members of the 
club generally found excuses to avoid participating in 
a game where he made one. 



Ill 

THE EDITOR AT WORK 

To go back a little, for several days after his child's 
birth Major Carteret's chief interest in life had been 
confined to the four walls of the chamber where his 
pale wife lay upon her bed of pain, and those of the 
adjoining room where an old black woman crooned 
lovingly over a little white infant. A new element had 
been added to the major's consciousness, broadening 
the scope and deepening the strength of his affections. 
He did not love Olivia the less, for maternity had 
crowned her wifehood with an added glory ; but side 
by side with this old and tried attachment was a new 
passion, stirring up dormant hopes and kindling new 
desires. His regret had been more than personal at 
the thought that with himself an old name should be 
lost to the State ; and now all the old pride of race, 
class, and family welled up anew, and swelled and 
quickened the current of his life. 

Upon the major's first appearance at the office, 
which took place the second day after the child's 
birth, he opened a box of cigars in honor of the 
event. The word had been passed around by Ellis, 
and the whole office force, including reporters, com- 
positors, and pressmen, came in to congratulate the 
major and smoke at his expense. Even Jerry, the col- 
ored porter, — Mammy Jane's grandson and therefore 
a protege* of the family, — presented himself among the 



THE EDITOR AT WORK 29 

rest, or rather, after the rest. The major shook hands 
with them all except Jerry, though he acknowledged 
the porter's congratulations with a kind nod and put 
a good cigar into his outstretched, palm, for which 
Jerry thanked him without manifesting any conscious- 
ness of the omission. He was quite aware that under 
ordinary circumstances the major would not have 
shaken hands with white workingmen, to say nothing 
of negroes ; and he had merely hoped that in the 
pleasurable distraction of the moment the major might 
also overlook the distinction of color. Jerry's hope 
had been shattered, though not rudely ; for the major 
had spoken pleasantly and the cigar was a good one. 
Mr. Ellis had once shaken hands with Jerry, — but 
Mr. Ellis was a young man, whose Quaker father had 
never owned any slaves, and he could not be expected 
to have as much pride as one of the best " quality," 
whose families had possessed land and negroes for 
time out of mind. On the whole, Jerry preferred 
the careless nod of the editor-in-chief to the more 
familiar greeting of the subaltern. 

Having finished this pleasant ceremony, which left 
him with a comfortable sense of his new dignity, the 
major turned to his desk. It had been much neg- 
lected during the week, and more than one matter 
claimed his attention ; but as typical of the new trend 
of his thoughts, the first subject he took up was one 
bearing upon the future of his son. Quite obviously 
the career of a Carteret must not be left to chance, — 
it must be planned and worked out with a due sense 
of the value of good blood. 

There lay upon his desk a letter from a well-known 
promoter, offering the major an investment which 
promised large returns, though several years must 



30 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

elapse before the enterprise could be put upon a pay- 
ing basis. The element of time, however, was not imme- 
diately important. The Morning Chronicle provided 
him an ample inaome. The money available for this 
investment was part of his wife's patrimony. It was 
invested in a local cotton mill, which was paying ten 
per cent., but this was a beggarly return compared 
with the immense profits promised by the offered in- 
vestment, — profits which would enable his son, upon 
reaching manhood, to take a place in the world com- 
mensurate with the dignity of his ancestors, one of 
whom, only a few generations removed, had owned an 
estate of ninety thousand acres of land and six thou- 
sand slaves. 

This letter having been disposed of by an answer 
accepting the offer, the major took up his pen to write 
an editorial. Public affairs in the state were not 
going to his satisfaction. At the last state election 
his own party, after an almost unbroken rule of 
twenty years, had been defeated by the so-called 
" Fusion " ticket, a combination of Republicans and 
Populists. A clean sweep had been made of the 
offices in the state, which were now filled by new 
men. Many of the smaller places had gone to colored 
men, their people having voted almost solidly for the 
Fusion ticket. In spite of the fact that the popula- 
tion of Wellington was two thirds colored, this state 
of things was gall and wormwood to the defeated 
party, of which the Morning Chronicle was the 
acknowledged organ. Major Carteret shared this 
feeling. Only this very morning, while passing the 
city hall, on his way to the office, he had seen the 
steps of that noble building disfigured by a fringe of 
job-hunting negroes, for all the world — to use a local 



THE EDITOR AT WORK 31 

simile — like a string of buzzards sitting on a rail, 
awaiting their opportunity to batten upon the helpless 
corpse of a moribund city. 

Taking for his theme the unfitness of the negro to 
participate in government, — an unfitness due to his 
limited education, his lack of experience, his criminal 
tendencies, and more especially to his hopeless mental 
and physical inferiority to the white race, — the major 
had demonstrated, it seemed to him clearly enough, 
that the ballot in the hands of the negro was a menace 
to the commonwealth. He had argued, with entire 
conviction, that the white and black races could never 
attain social and political harmony by commingling 
their blood ; he had proved by several historical par- 
allels that no two unassimilable races could ever live 
together except in the relation of superior and in- 
ferior ; and he was just dipping his gold pen into the 
ink to indite his conclusions from the premises thus 
established,! when Jerry, the porter, announced two 
visitors. 

" GinT Belmont an' Cap'n McBane would like ter 
see you, sun." 

" Show them in, Jerry." 

The man who entered first upon this invitation was 
a dapper little gentleman with light-blue eyes and a 
Vandyke beard. He wore a frock coat, patent leather 
shoes, and a Panama hat. There were crow's-feet 
about his eyes, which twinkled with a hard and, at 
times, humorous shrewdness. He had sloping shoul- 
ders, small hands and feet, and walked with the lei- 
surely step characteristic of those who have been 
reared under hot suns. 

Carteret gave his hand cordially to the gentleman 
thus described. 



32 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" How do you do, Captain McBane," lie said, turn- 
ing to the second visitor. 

The individual thus addressed was strikingly differ- 
ent in appearance from his companion. His broad 
shoulders, burly form, square jaw, and heavy chin 
betokened strength, energy, and unscrupulousness. 
AVith the exception of a small, bristling mustache, his 
face was clean shaven, with here and there a speck of 
dried blood due to a carelessly or unskillfully handled 
razor. A single deep-set gray eye was shadowed by a 
beetling brow, over which a crop of coarse black hair, 
slightly streaked with gray, fell almost low enough to 
mingle with his black, bushy eyebrows. His coat had 
not been brushed for several days, if one might judge 
from the accumulation of dandruff upon the collar, 
and his shirt-front, in the middle of which blazed a 
showy diamond, was plentifully stained with tobacco 
juice. He wore a large slouch hat, which, upon enter- 
ing the office, he removed and held in his hand. 

Having greeted this person with an unconscious but 
quite perceptible diminution of the warmth with which 
he had welcomed the other, the major looked around 
the room for seats for his visitors, and perceiving only 
one chair, piled with exchanges, and a broken stool 
propped against the wall, pushed a button, which rang 
a bell in the hall, summoning the colored porter to his 
presence. 

" Jerry," said the editor when his servant appeared, 
" bring a couple of chairs for these gentlemen." 

While they stood waiting, the visitors congratulated 
the major on the birth of his child, which had been 
announced in the Morning Chronicle, and which the 
prominence of the family made in some degree a mat- 
ter of public interest. 



THE EDITOR AT WORK 33 

" And now that you have a son, major," remarked 
the gentleman first described, as he lit one of the 
major's cigars, " you '11 be all the more interested 
in doing something to make this town fit to live in, 
which is what we came up to talk about. Things are 
in an awful condition ! A negro justice of the peace 
has opened an office on Market Street, and only yester- 
day summoned a white man to appear before him. 
Negro lawyers get most of the business in the criminal 
court. Last evening a group of young white ladies, 
going quietly along the street arm-in-arm, were forced 
off the sidewalk by a crowd of negro girls. Coming 
down the street just now, I saw a spectacle of social 
equality and negro domination that made my blood 
boil with indignation, — a white and a black convict, 
chained together, crossing the city in charge of a 
negro officer ! We cannot stand that sort of thing, 
Carteret, — it is the last straw ! Something must 
be done, and that quickly ! " 

The major thrilled with responsive emotion. There 
was something prophetic in this opportune visit. The 
matter was not only in his own thoughts, but in the 
air; it was the spontaneous revulsion of white men 
against the rule of an inferior race. These were the 
very men, above all others in the town, to join him 
in a movement to change these degrading conditions. 

General Belmont, the smaller of the two, was a man 
of good family, a lawyer by profession, and took an 
active part in state and local politics. Aristocratic 
by birth and instinct, and a former owner of slaves, 
his conception of the obligations and rights of his caste 
was nevertheless somewhat lower than that of the 
narrower but more sincere Carteret. In serious affairs 
Carteret desired the approval of his conscience, even if 



34 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

he had to trick that docile organ into acquiescence. 
This was not difficult to do in politics, for he believed 
in the divine right of white men and gentlemen, as his 
ancestors had believed in and died for the divine right 
of kings. General Belmont was not without a gentle- 
man's distaste for meanness, but he permitted no fine 
scruples to stand in the way of success. He had once 
been minister, under a Democratic administration, to 
a small Central American state. Political rivals had 
characterized him as a tricky demagogue, which may 
of course have been a libel. He had an amiable dis- 
position, possessed the gift of eloquence, and was a 
prime social favorite. 

Captain George McBane had sprung from the poor- 
white class, to which, even more than to the slaves, 
the abolition of slavery had opened the door of oppor- 
tunity. No longer overshadowed by a slaveholding 
caste, some of this class had rapidly pushed themselves 
forward. Some had made honorable records. Others, 
foremost in negro-baiting and election frauds, had done 
the dirty work of politics, as their fathers had done 
that of slavery, seeking their reward at first in minor 
offices, — for which men of gentler breeding did not 
care, — until their ambition began to reach out for 
higher honors. 

Of this class McBane — whose captaincy, by the 
way, was merely a polite fiction — had been one of 
the most successful. He had held, until recently, as the 
reward of questionable political services, a contract 
with the State for its convict labor, from which in a 
few years he had realized a fortune. But the methods 
which made his contract profitable had not commended 
themselves to humane people, and charges of cruelty 
and worse had been preferred against him. He was 



THE EDITOR AT WORK 35 

rich enough to escape serious consequences from the 
investigation which followed, but when the Fusion 
ticket carried the state he lost his contract, and the 
system of convict labor was abolished. Since then 
McBane had devoted himself to politics : he was am- 
bitious for greater wealth, for office, and for social 
recognition. A man of few words and self-engrossed, 
he seldom spoke of his aspirations except where speech 
might favor them, preferring to seek his ends by secret 
"deals" and combinations rather than to challenge 
criticism and provoke rivalry by more open methods. 

At sight, therefore, of these two men, with whose 
careers and characters he was entirely familiar, Car- 
teret felt sweep over his mind the conviction that now 
was the time and these the instruments with which to 
undertake the redemption of the state from the evil 
fate which had befallen it. 

Jerry, the porter, who had gone downstairs to the 
counting-room to find two whole chairs, now entered 
with one in each hand. He set a chair for the general, 
who gave him an amiable nod, to which Jerry responded 
with a bow and a scrape. Captain McBane made no 
acknowledgment, but fixed Jerry so fiercely with his 
single eye that upon placing the chair Jerry made his 
escape from the room as rapidly as possible. 

" I don' like dat Cap'n McBane," he muttered, upon 
reaching the hall. " Dey says he got dat eye knock' 
out tryin' ter whip a cullud 'oman, when he wuz a boy, 
an' dat he ain' never had no use fer niggers sence, — 
'cep'n' fer what he could make outen 'em wid his con- 
vie' labor contrac's. His daddy wuz a' overseer befo' 
'im, an' it come nachul fer him ter be a nigger-driver. 
I don' want dat one eye er his'n restin' on me no 
longer 'n I kin he'p, an' I don' know how I 'm gwine 



36 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ter like dis job ef lie 's gwine ter be comin' roun' here. 
He ain' nothin' but po' w'ite trash nohow ; but Lawd ! 
Lawd ! look at de money he 's got, — livin' at de hotel, 
wearin' di'mon's, an' colloguin' wid de bes' quality er 
dis town ! 'Pears ter rne de bottom rail is gittin' 
mighty close ter de top. Well, I s'pose it all comes 
f 'm bein' w'ite. I wush ter Gawd I wuz w'ite ! " 

After this fervent aspiration, having nothing else to 
do for the time being, except to remain within call, 
and having caught a few words of the conversation 
as he went in with the chairs, Jerry, who possessed a 
certain amount of curiosity, placed close to the wall 
the broken stool upon which he sat while waiting in 
the hall, and applied his ear to a hole in the plastering 
of the hallway. There was a similar defect in the 
inner wall, between the same two pieces of studding, 
and while this inner opening was not exactly opposite 
the outer, Jerry was enabled, through the two, to 
catch in a more or less fragmentary way what was 
going on within. 

He could hear the major, now and then, use the 
word " negro," and McBane's deep voice was quite 
audible when he referred, it seemed to Jerry with 
alarming frequency, to " the damned niggers," while 
the general's suave tones now and then pronounced the 
word " niggro, " — a sort of compromise between eth- 
nology and the vernacular. That the gentlemen were 
talking politics seemed quite likely, for gentlemen 
generally talked politics when they met at the Chron- 
icle office. Jerry could hear the words " vote," " fran- 
chise," " eliminate," " constitution," and other expres- 
sions which marked the general tenor of the talk, 
though he could not follow it all, — partly because he 
could not hear everything distinctly, and partly because 



THE EDITOR AT WORK 37 

of certain limitations which nature had placed in the 
way of Jerry's understanding anything very difficult 
or abstruse. 

He had gathered enough, however, to realize, in a 
vague way, that something serious was on foot, in- 
volving his own race, when a bell sounded over his 
head, at which he sprang up hastily and entered the 
room where the gentlemen were talking. 

" Jerry," said the major, "wait on Captain Mc- 
Bane." 

" Yas, suh," responded Jerry, turning toward the 
captain, whose eye he carefully avoided meeting 
directly. 

" Take that half a dollar, boy," ordered McBane, 
" an' go 'cross the street to Mr. Sykes's, and tell him 
to send me three whiskies. Bring back the change, 
and make has'e." 

The captain tossed the half dollar at Jerry, who, 
looking to one side, of course missed it. He picked 
the money up, however, and backed out of the room. 
Jerry did not like Captain McBane, to begin with, and 
it was clear that the captain was no gentleman, or he 
would not have thrown the money at him. Consid- 
ering the source, Jerry might have overlooked this 
discourtesy had it not been coupled with the remark 
about the change, which seemed to him in very poor 
taste. 

Returning in a few minutes with three glasses on a 
tray, he passed them round, handed Captain McBane 
his change, and retired to the hall. 

" Gentlemen," exclaimed the captain, lifting his 
glass, " I propose a toast : ' No nigger domination.' " 

" Amen ! " said the others, and three glasses were 
solemnly drained. 



38 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Major," observed the general, smacking his lips, 
" / should like to use Jerry for a moment, if you will 
permit me." 

Jerry appeared promptly at the sound of the bell. 
He had remained conveniently near, — calls of this 
sort were apt to come in sequence. 

"Jerry," said the general, handing Jerry half a 
dollar, " go over to Mr. Brown's, — I get my liquor 
there, — and tell them to send me three glasses of my 
special mixture. And, Jerry, — you may keep the 
change ! " 

" Thank y', gin'l, thank y', marster," replied Jerry, 
with unctuous gratitude, bending almost double as he 
backed out of the room. 

" Dat 's a gent'eman, a rale ole-time gent'eman," he 
said to himself when he had closed the door. " But 
dere 's somethin' gwine on in dere, — dere sho' is ! 
' No nigger damnation ! ' Dat soun's all right, — 
I 'm sho' dere ain' no nigger I knows w'at wants dam- 
nation, do' dere 's lots of 'em w'at deserves it ; but ef 
dat one-eyed Cap'n McBane got anything ter do wid 
it, w'atever it is, it don' mean no good fer de niggers, 
— damnation 'd be better fer 'em dan dat Cap'n Mc- 
Bane ! He looks at a nigger lack he could jes' eat 
'im alive." 

" This mixture, gentlemen," observed the general 
when Jerry had returned with the glasses, " was ori- 
ginally compounded by no less a person than the great 
John C. Calhoun himself, who confided the recipe to 
my father over the convivial board. In this nectar 
of the gods, gentlemen, I drink with you to 'White 
Supremacy ! ' " 

" White Supremacy everywhere ! " added McBane 
with fervor. 



THE EDITOR AT WORK 39 

" Now and forever ! " concluded Carteret solemnly. 

When the visitors, half an hour later, had taken 
their departure, Carteret, inspired by the theme, and 
in less degree by the famous mixture of the immortal 
Calhoun, turned to his desk and finished, at a white 
heat, his famous editorial in which he sounded the 
tocsin of a new crusade. 

At noon, when the editor, having laid down his pen, 
was leaving the office, he passed Jerry in the hall 
without a word or a nod. The major wore a rapt look, 
which Jerry observed with a vague uneasiness. 

" He looks jes' lack he wuz walkin' in his sleep," 
muttered Jerry uneasily. " Dere 's somethin' up, sho 's 
you bawn ! * No nigger damnation ! ' Anybody 'd 'low 
dey wuz all gwine ter heaven ; but I knows better ! 
Wen a passel er w'ite folks gits ter talkin' 'bout de 
niggers lack dem in yander, it 's mo' lackly dey 're 
gwine ter ketch somethin' e'se dan heaven ! I got ter 
keep my eyes open an' keep up wid w'at 's happenin'. 
Ef dere 's gwine ter be anudder flood 'roun' here, I 
wants ter git in de ark wid de w'ite folks, — I may 
haf ter be anudder Ham, an' sta't de cullud race all 
over ag'in." 



IV 

THEODORE FELIX 

The young heir of the Carterets had thriven apace, 
and at six months old was, according to Mammy 
Jane, whose experience qualified her to speak with 
authority, the largest, finest, smartest, and altogether 
most remarkable baby that had ever lived in Welling- 
ton. Mammy Jane had recently suffered from an 
attack of inflammatory rheumatism, as the result of 
which she had returned to her own home. She never- 
theless came now and then to see Mrs. Carteret. A 
younger nurse had been procured to take her place, 
but it was understood that Jane would come whenever 
she might be needed. 

" You really mean that about Dodie, do you, Mammy 
Jane?" asked the delighted mother, who never tired 
of hearing her own opinion confirmed concerning this 
wonderful child, which had come to her like an angel 
from heaven. 

" Does I mean it ! " exclaimed Mammy Jane, with 
a tone and an expression which spoke volumes of re- 
proach. " Now, Mis' 'Livy, what is I ever uttered er 
said er spoke er done dat would make you s'pose I 
could tell you a lie 'bout yo' own chile?" 

" No, Mammy Jane, I 'm sure you would n't." 

" 'Deed, ma'am, I 'in tellin' you de Lawd's truf. I 
don' haf ter tell no lies ner strain no p'ints 'bout my 
ole mist'ess's gran'chile. Dis yer boy is de ve'y spit 



THEODORE FELIX 41 

an' image er yo' brother, young Mars Alick, w'at died 
w'en he wuz 'bout eight mont's ole, w'iles I wuz laid 
off haviri' a baby er my own, an' could n' be roun' ter 
look after 'im. An' dis chile is a rale quality chile, 
he is, — I never seed a baby wid sech fine hair fer his 
age, ner sech blue eyes, ner sech a grip, ner sech a 
heft. W'y, dat chile mus' weigh 'bout twenty-fo' 
poun's, an' he not but six mont's ole. Does dat gal 
w'at does de nussin' w'iles I 'm gone ten' ter dis 
chile right, Mis' 'Livy ? " 

" She does fairly well, Mammy Jane, but I could 
hardly expect her to love the baby as you do. There 's 
no one like you, Mammy Jane." 

" 'Deed dere ain't, honey ; you is talkin' de gospel 
truf now! None er dese yer young folks ain' got de 
trainin' my ole mist'ess give me. Dese yer new- 
fangle' schools don' l'arn 'em nothin' ter compare wid 
it. I 'm jes' gwine ter give dat gal a piece er my 
min', befo' I go, so she '11 ten' ter dis chile right." 

The nurse came in shortly afterwards, a neat-looking 
brown girl, dressed in a clean calico gown, with a 
nurse's cap and apron. 

" Look a-here, gal," said Mammy Jane sternly, " I 
wants you ter understan' dat you got ter take good 
keer er dis chile ; fer I nussed his mammy dere, an' 
his gran'mammy befo' 'im, an' you is got a priv'lege 
dat mos' lackly you don' 'preciate. I wants you to 
'member, in yo' incomin's an' outgoin's, dat I got my 
eye on you, an' am gwine ter see dat you does yo' 
wo'k right." 

" Do you need me for anything, ma'am ? " asked 
the young nurse, who had stood before Mrs. Carteret, 
giving Mammy Jane a mere passing glance, and 
listening impassively to her harangue. The nurse 



42 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

belonged to the younger generation of colored people. 
She had graduated from the mission school, and had 
received some instruction in Dr. Miller's class for 
nurses. Standing, like most young people of her 
race, on the border line between two irreconcilable 
states of life, she had neither the picturesqueness of 
the slave, nor the unconscious dignity of those of whom 
freedom has been the immemorial birthright ; she was 
in what might be called the chip-on-the-shoulder stage, 
through which races as well as individuals must pass 
in climbing the ladder of life, — not an interesting, at 
least not an agreeable stage, but an inevitable one, 
and for that reason entitled to a paragraph in a story 
of Southern life, which, with its as yet imperfect 
blending of old with new, of race with race, of slavery 
with freedom, is like no other life under the sun. 

Had this old woman, who had no authority over 
her, been a little more polite, or a little less offensive, 
the nurse might have returned her a pleasant answer. 
These old-time negroes, she said to herself, made her 
sick with their slavering over the white folks, who, 
she supposed, favored them and made much of them 
because they had once belonged to them, — much the 
same reason why they fondled their cats and dogs. 
For her own part, they gave her nothing but her 
wages, and small wages at that, and she owed them 
nothing more than equivalent service. It was purely 
a matter of business ; she sold her time for their 
money. There was no question of love between them. 

Receiving a negative answer from Mrs. Carteret, 
she left the room without a word, ignoring Mammy 
Jane completely, and leaving that venerable relic of 
ante-bellum times gasping in helpless astonishment. 

" Well, I nevuh ! " she ejaculated, as soon as she 



THEODORE FELIX 43 

could get her breath, " ef dat ain' de beatinis' pe'fo'm- 
ance I ever seed er heared of ! Dese yer young nig- 
gers ain' got de manners dey wuz bawned wid ! I 
don' know w'at dey 're comin' to, w'en dey ain' got 
no mo' rispec' f er ole age — I don' know — I don' 
know ! " 

" Now what are you croaking about, Jane ? " asked 
Major Carteret, who came into the room and took the 
child into his arms. 

Mammy Jane hobbled to her feet and bobbed a 
curtsy. She was never lacking in respect to white 
people of proper quality ; but Major Carteret, the 
quintessence of aristocracy, called out all her reserves 
of deference. The major was always kind and con- 
siderate to these old family retainers, brought up in 
the feudal atmosphere now so rapidly passing away. 
Mammy Jane loved Mrs. Carteret ; toward the major 
she entertained a feeling bordering upon awe. 

" Well, Jane," returned the major sadly, when the 
old nurse had related her grievance, " the old times 
have vanished, the old ties have been ruptured. The 
old relations of dependence and loyal obedience on the 
part of the colored people, the responsibility of pro- 
tection and kindness upon that of the whites, have 
passed away forever. The young negroes are too 
self-assertive. Education is spoiling them, Jane ; 
they have been badly taught. They are not content 
with their station in life. Some time they will over- 
step the mark. The white people are patient, but 
there is a limit to their endurance. 

" Dat 's w'at I tells dese young niggers," groaned 
Mammy Jane, with a portentous shake of her tur- 
baned head, " w'en I hears 'em gwine on wid deir 
foolishniss; but dey don' min' me. Dey 'lows dey 



44 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

knows mo' d'n I does, 'ca'se dey be'n l'arnt ter look 
in a book. Bnt, pshuh ! my ole mist'ess showed me 
mo' d'n dem niggers '11 l'arn in a thousan' years ! I 's 
fetch' my gran'son' Jerry up ter be 'umble, an' keep 
in 'is place. An' I tells dese other niggers dat ef 
dey 'd do de same, an' not crowd de w'ite folks, dey 'd 
git ernuff ter eat, an' live out deir days in peace 
an' comfo't. But dey don' min' me — dey don' min' 
me!" 

" If all the colored people were like you and Jerry, 
Jane," rejoined the major kindly, " there would never 
be any trouble. You have friends upon whom, in 
time of need, you can rely implicitly for protection 
and succor. You served your mistress faithfully 
before the war ; you remained by her when the other 
negroes were running hither and thither like sheep 
without a shepherd ; and you have transferred your 
allegiance to my wife and her child. We think a 
great deal of you, Jane." 

" Yes, indeed, Mammy Jane," assented Mrs. 
Carteret, with sincere affection, glancing with moist 
eyes from the child in her husband's arms to the old 
nurse, whose dark face was glowing with happiness 
at these expressions of appreciation, " you shall never 
want so long as we have anything. We would share 
our last crust with you." 

" Thank y', Mis' 'Livy," said Jane with reciprocal 
emotion, " I knows who my frien's is, an' I ain' gwine 
ter let nothin' worry me. But fer de Lawd's sake, 
Mars Philip, gimme dat chile, an' lemme pat 'im on 
de back, er he '11 choke hisse'f ter death ! " 

The old nurse had been the first to observe that 
little Dodie, for some reason, was gasping for breath. 
Catching the child from the major's arms, she patted 



THEODORE FELIX 45 

it on the back, and shook it gently. After a moment 
of this treatment, the child ceased to gasp, but still 
breathed heavily, with a strange, whistling noise. 

" Oh, my child ! " exclaimed the mother, in great 
alarm, taking the baby in her own arms, " what can 
be the matter with him, Mammy Jane? " « 

" Fer de Lawd's sake, ma'am, I don' know, 'less 
he 's swallered somethin' ; an' he ain' had nothin' in 
his han's but de rattle Mis' Polly give 'im." 

Mrs. Carteret caught up the ivory rattle, which 
hung suspended by a ribbon from the baby's neck. 

" He has swallowed the little piece off the end of 
the handle," she cried, turning pale with fear, " and 
it has lodged in his throat. Telephone Dr. Price to 
come immediately, Philip, before my baby chokes to 
death ! Oh, my baby, my precious baby ! " 

An anxious half hour passed, during which the 
child lay quiet, except for its labored breathing. The 
suspense was relieved by the arrival of Dr. Price, 
who examined the child carefully. 

" It 's a curious accident," he announced at the 
close of his inspection. " So far as I can discover, 
the piece of ivory has been drawn into the trachea, or 
windpipe, and has lodged in the mouth of the right 
bronchus. I '11 try to get it out without an operation, 
but I can't guarantee the result." 

At the end of another half hour Dr. Price an- 
nounced his inability to remove the obstruction with- 
out resorting to more serious measures. 

" I do not see," he declared, " how an operation can 
be avoided." 

" Will it be dangerous ? " inquired the major anx- 
iously, while Mrs. Carteret shivered at the thought. 

" It will be necessary to cut into his throat from 



46 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the outside. All such operations are more or less 
dangerous, especially on small children. If this were 
some other child, I might undertake the operation 
unassisted ; but I know how you value this one, 
major, and I should prefer to share the responsibility 
with «i specialist." 

" Is there one in town ? " asked the major. 

" No, but we can get one from out of town." 

" Send for the best one in the country," said the 
major, " who can be got here in time. Spare no ex- 
pense, Dr. Price. We value this child above any 
earthly thing." 

" The best is the safest," replied Dr. Price. " I 
will send for Dr. Burns, of Philadelphia, the best sur- 
geon in that line in America. If he can start at once, 
he can reach here in sixteen or eighteen hours, and the 
case can wait even longer, if inflammation does not 
set in." 

The message was dispatched forthwith. By rare 
good fortune the eminent specialist was able to start 
within an hour or two after the receipt of Dr. Price's 
telegram. Meanwhile the baby remained restless and 
uneasy, the doctor spending most of his time by its 
side. Mrs. Carteret, who had never been quite strong 
since the child's birth, was a prey to the most agoniz- 
ing apprehensions. 

Mammy Jane, while not presuming to question the 
opinion of Dr. Price, and not wishing to add to her 
mistress's distress, was secretly opj)ressed by fore- 
bodings which she was unable to shake off. The 
child was born for bad luck. The mole under its ear, 
just at the point where the hangman's knot would 
strike, had foreshadowed dire misfortune. She had 
already observed several little things which had ren- 
dered her vaguely anxious. 



THEODORE FELIX 47 

For instance, upon one occasion, on entering the 
room where the baby had been left alone, asleep in his 
crib, she had met a strange cat hurrying from the 
nursery, and, upon examining closely the pillow upon 
which the child lay, had found a depression which had 
undoubtedly been due to the weight of the cat's body. 
The child was restless and uneasy, and Jane had ever 
since believed that the cat had been sucking little 
Dodie's breath, with what might have been fatal re- 
sults had she not appeared just in the nick of time. 

This untimely accident of the rattle, a fatality for 
which no one could be held responsible, had confirmed 
the unlucky omen. Jane's duties in the nursery did 
not permit her to visit her friend the conjure woman ; 
but she did find time to go out in the back yard at 
dusk, and to dig up the charm which she had planted 
there. It had protected the child so far ; but perhaps 
its potency had become exhausted. She picked up 
the bottle, shook it vigorously, and then laid it back, 
with the other side up. Refilling the hole, she made 
a cross over the top with the thumb of her left hand, 
and walked three times around it. 

What this strange symbolism meant, or whence it 
derived its origin, Aunt Jane did not know. The 
cross was there, and the Trinity, though Jane was 
scarcely conscious of these, at this moment, as re- 
ligious emblems. But she hoped, on general princi- 
ples, that this performance would strengthen the 
charm and restore little Dodie's luck. It certainly 
had its moral effect upon Jane's own mind, for she 
was able to sleep better, and contrived to impress 
Mrs. Carteret with her own hopefulness. 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 

As the south-bound train was leaving the station at 
Philadelphia, a gentleman took his seat in the single 
sleeping-car attached to the train, and proceeded to 
make himself comfortable. He hung up his hat and 
opened his newspaper, in which he remained absorbed 
for a quarter of an hour. When the train had left 
the city behind, he threw the paper aside, and looked 
around at the other occupants of the car. One of 
these, who had been on the car since it had left New 
York, rose from his seat upon perceiving the other's 
glance, and came down the aisle. 

" How do you do, Dr. Burns ? " he said, stopping 
beside the seat of the Philadelphia passenger. 

The gentleman looked up at the speaker with an 
air of surprise, which, after the first keen, incisive 
glance, gave place to an expression of cordial recog- 
nition. 

" Why, it 's Miller ! " he exclaimed, rising and giv- 
ing the other his hand, " William Miller — Dr. Mil- 
ler, of course. Sit down, Miller, and tell me all about 
yourself, — what you 're doing, where you 've been, 
and where you 're going. I 'm delighted to meet you, 
and to see you looking so well — and so prosperous." 

" I deserve no credit for either, sir," returned the 
other, as he took the proffered seat, " for I inherited 
both health and prosperity. It is a fortunate chance 
that permits me to meet you." 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 49 

The two acquaintances, thus opportunely thrown 
together so that they might while away in conver- 
sation the tedium of their journey, represented very 
different and yet very similar types of manhood. A 
celebrated traveler, after many years spent in barbar- 
ous or savage lands, has said that among all varieties 
of mankind the similarities are vastly more important 
and fundamental than the differences. Looking at 
these two men with the American eye, the differences 
would perhaps be the more striking, or at least the 
more immediately apparent, for the first was white and 
the second black, or,* more correctly speaking, brown ; 
it was even a light brown, but both his swarthy com- 
plexion and his curly hair revealed what has been 
described in the laws of some of our states as a 
" visible admixture " of African blood. 

Having disposed of this difference, and having 
observed that the white man was perhaps fifty years 
of age and the other not more than thirty, it may be 
said that they were both tall and sturdy, both well 
dressed, the white man with perhaps a little more dis- 
tinction ; both seemed from their faces and their man- 
ners to be men of culture and accustomed to the so- 
ciety of cultivated people. They were both handsome 
men, the elder representing a fine type of Anglo- 
Saxon, as the term is used in speaking of our com- 
posite white population ; while the mulatto's erect 
form, broad shoulders, clear eyes, fine teeth, and pleas- 
ingly moulded features showed nowhere any sign of 
that degeneration which the pessimist so sadly main- 
tains is the inevitable heritage of mixed races. 

As to their personal relations, it has already ap- 
peared that they were members of the same profession. 
In past years they had been teacher and pupil. Dr. 



50 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Alvin Burns was professor in the famous medical col- 
lege where Miller had attended lectures. The pro- 
fessor had taken an interest in his only colored pupil, 
to whom he had been attracted by his earnestness of 
purpose, his evident talent, and his excellent manners 
and fine physique. It was in part due to Dr. Burns's 
friendship that Miller had won a scholarship which 
had enabled him, without drawing too heavily upon 
his father's resources, to spend in Europe, studying 
in the hospitals of Paris and Vienna, the two most 
delightful years of his life. The same influence had 
strengthened his natural inclination toward operative 
surgery, in which Dr. Burns was a distinguished spe- 
cialist of national reputation. 

Miller's father, Adam Miller, had been a thrifty 
colored man, the son of a slave, who, in the olden 
time, had bought himself with money which he had 
earned and saved, over and above what he had paid 
his master for his time. Adam Miller had inherited 
his father's thrift, as well as his trade, which was that 
of a stevedore, or contractor for the loading and un- 
loading of vessels at the port of Wellington. In the 
flush turpentine days following a few years after the 
civil war, he had made money. His savings, shrewdly 
invested, had by constant accessions become a compe- 
tence. He had brought up his eldest son to the trade ; 
the other he had given a professional education, in the 
proud hope that his children or his grandchildren 
might be gentlemen in the town where their ancestors 
had once been slaves. 

Upon his father's death, shortly after Dr. Miller's 
return from Europe, and a year or two before the date 
at which this story opens, he had promptly spent part 
of his inheritance in founding a hospital, to which was 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 51 

to be added a training school for nurses, and in time 
perhaps a medical college and a school of pharmacy. 
He had been strongly tempted to leave the South, 
and seek a home for his family and a career for him- 
self in the freer North, where race antagonism was 
less keen, or at least less oppressive, or in Europe, 
where he had never found his color work to his disad- 
vantage. But his people had needed him, and he had 
wished to help them, and had sought by means of this 
institution to contribute to their uplifting. As he now 
informed Dr. Burns, he was returning from New York, 
where he had been in order to purchase equipment 
for his new hospital, which would soon be ready for 
the reception of patients. 

" How much I can accomplish I do not know," said 
Miller, " but I '11 do what I can. There are eight or 
nine million of us, and it will take a great deal of 
learning of all kinds to leaven that lump." 

" It is a great problem, Miller, the future of your 
race," returned the other, " a tremendously interesting 
problem. It is a serial story which we are all read- 
ing, and which grows in vital interest with each suc- 
cessive installment. It is not only your problem, but 
ours. Your race must come up or drag ours down." 

" We shall come up," declared Miller ; " slowly and 
painfully, perhaps, but we shall win our way. If our 
race had made as much progress everywhere as they 
have made in Wellington, the problem would be well 
on the way toward solution." 

"Wellington?" exclaimed Dr. Burns. "That's 
where I 'm going. A Dr. Price, of Wellington, has 
sent for me to perform an operation on a child's 
throat. Do you know Dr. Price ? " 

" Quite well," replied Miller, " he is a friend of 
mine." 



52 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" So much the better. I shall want you to assist 
me. I read in the Medical Gazette, the other day, 
an account of a very interesting operation of yours. I 
felt proud to number you among my pupils. It was 
a remarkable case — a rare case. I must certainly 
have you with me in this one." 

" I shall be delighted, sir," returned Miller, " if it 
is agreeable to all concerned." 

Several hours were passed in pleasant conversation 
while the train sped rapidly southward. They were 
already far down in Virginia, and had stopped at a 
station beyond Richmond, when the conductor entered 
the car. 

" All passengers," he announced, " will please trans- 
fer to the day coaches ahead. The sleeper has a hot 
• box, and must be switched oif here." 

Dr. Burns and Miller obeyed the order, the former 
leading the way into the coach immediately in front 
of the sleeping-car. 

"Let 's sit here, Miller," he said, having selected a 
seat near the rear of the car and deposited his suit- 
case in a rack. " It 's on the shady side." 

Miller stood a moment hesitatingly, but finally took 
the seat indicated, and a few minutes later the journey 
was again resumed. 

When the train conductor made his round after leav- 
ing the station, he paused at the seat occupied by the 
two doctors, glanced interrogatively at Miller, and 
then spoke to Dr. Burns, who sat in the end of the 
seat nearest the aisle. 

" This man is with you ? " he asked, indicating 
Miller with a slight side movement of his head, and a 
keen glance in his direction. 

" Certainly," replied Dr. Burns curtly, and with 
some surprise. " Don't you see that he is ? " 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 53 

The conductor passed on. Miller paid no apparent 
attention to this little interlude, though no syllable 
had escaped him. He resumed the conversation where 
it had been broken off, but nevertheless followed with 
his eyes the conductor, who stopped at a seat near the 
forward end of the car, and engaged in conversation 
with a man whom Miller had not hitherto noticed. 

As this passenger turned his head and looked back 
toward Miller, the latter saw a broad-shouldered, burly 
white man, and recognized in his square-cut jaw, his 
coarse, firm mouth, and the single gray eye with which 
he swept Miller for an instant with a scornful glance, 
a well-known character of Wellington, with whom the 
reader has already made acquaintance in these pages. 
Captain McBane wore a frock coat and a slouch hat ; 
several buttons of his vest were unbuttoned, and his 
solitaire diamond blazed in his soiled shirt-front like 
the headlight of a locomotive. 

The conductor in his turn looked back at Miller, 
and retraced his steps. Miller braced himself for 
what he feared was coming, though he had hoped, on 
account of his friend's presence, that it might be 
avoided. 

" Excuse me, sir," said the conductor, addressing 
Dr. Burns, " but did I understand you to say that this 
man was your servant? " 

" No, indeed ! ' replied Dr. Burns indignantly. 
" The gentleman is not my servant, nor anybody's ser- 
vant, but is my friend. But, by the way, since we are 
on the subject, may I ask what affair it is of yours ? " 

44 It 's very much my affair," returned the conduc- 
tor, somewhat nettled at this questioning of his au- 
thority. " I 'm sorry to part friends, but the law of 
Virginia does not permit colored passengers to ride in 



54 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the white cars. You '11 have to go forward to the next 
coach," he added, addressing Miller this time. 

" I have paid my fare on the sleeping-car, where 
the separate-car law does not apply," remonstrated 
Miller. 

" I can't help that. You can doubtless get your 
money back from the sleeping-car company. But this 
is a day coach, and is distinctly marked ' White,' as 
you must have seen before you sat down here. The 
sign is put there for that purpose." 

He indicated a large card neatly framed and hung 
at the end of the car, containing the legend, " White," 
in letters about a foot long, painted in white upon a 
dark background, typical, one might suppose, of the 
distinction thereby indicated. 

" You shall not stir a step, Miller," exclaimed Dr. 
Burns wrathfully. " This is an outrage upon a citizen 
of a free country. You shall stay right here." 

" I 'm sorry to discommode you," returned the con- 
ductor, "but there's no use kicking. It's the law of 
Virginia, and I am bound by it as well as you. I have 
already come near losing my place because of not en- 
forcing it, and I can take no more such chances, since 
I have a family to support." 

" And my friend has his rights to maintain," re- 
turned Dr. Burns with determination. " There is a 
vital principle at stake in the matter." 

" Really, sir," argued the conductor, who was a man 
of peace and not fond of controversy, " there 's no use 
talking — he absolutely cannot ride in this car." 

" How can you prevent it ? " asked Dr. Burns, laps- 
ing into the argumentative stage. 

" The law gives me the right to remove him by 
force. I can call on the train crew to assist me, or on 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 55 

the other passengers. If I should choose to put him 
off the train entirely, in the middle of a swamp, he 
would have no redress — the law so provides. If I 
did not wish to use force, I could simply switch this 
car off at the next siding, transfer the white passen- 
gers to another, and leave you and your friend in 
possession until you were arrested and fined or im- 
prisoned." 

" What he says is absolutely true, doctor," inter- 
posed Miller at this point. " It is the law, and we 
are powerless to resist it. If we made any trouble, it 
would merely delay your journey and imperil a life at 
the other end. I '11 go into the other car." 

"You shall not go alone," said Dr. Burns stoutly, 
rising in his turn. " A place that is too good for you 
is not good enough for me. I will sit wherever you do." 

" I 'm sorry again," said the conductor, who had 
quite recovered his equanimity, and calmly conscious 
of his power, could scarcely restrain an amused smile ; 
" I dislike to interfere, but white passengers are not 
permitted to ride in the colored car." 

" This is an outrage," declared Dr. Burns, " a 

d d outrage ! You are curtailing the rights, not 

only of colored people, but of white men as well. I 
shall sit where I please ! " 

" I warn you, sir," rejoined the conductor, harden- 
ing again, " that the law will be enforced. The beauty 
of the system lies in its strict impartiality — it applies 
to both races alike." 

" And is equally infamous in both cases," declared 
Dr. Burns. " I shall immediately take steps " — 

" Never mind, doctor," interrupted Miller, sooth- 
ingly, " it 's only for a little while. I '11 reach my 
destination just as surely in the other car, and we 



56 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

can't help it, anyway. I '11 see you again at Welling- 
ton." 

Dr. Burns, finding resistance futile, at length 
acquiesced and made way for Miller to pass him. 

The colored doctor took up his valise and crossed 
the platform to the car ahead. It was an old car, 
with faded upholstery, from which the stuffing pro- 
jected here and there through torn places. Apparently 
the floor had not been swept for several days. The 
dust lay thick upon the window sills, and the water- 
cooler, from which he essayed to get a drink, was filled 
with stale water which had made no recent acquaintance 
with ice. There was no other passenger in the car, 
and Miller occupied himself in making a rough calcu- 
lation of what it would cost the Southern railroads to 
haul a whole car for every colored passenger. It was 
expensive, to say the least ; it would be cheaper, and 
quite as considerate of their feelings, to make the 
negroes walk. 

The car was conspicuously labeled at either end 
with large cards, similar to those in the other car, 
except that they bore the word " Colored " in black 
letters upon a white background. The author of this 
piece of legislation had contrived, with an ingenuity 
worthy of a better cause, that not merely should the 
passengers be separated by the color line, but that the 
reason for this division should be kept constantly in 
mind. Lest a white man should forget that he was 
white, — not a very likely contingency, — these cards 
would keep him constantly admonished of the fact ; 
should a colored person endeavor, for a moment, to 
lose sight of his disability, these staring signs would 
remind him continually that between him and the rest 
of mankind not of his own color, there was by law 
a great gulf fixed. 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 57 

Having composed himself, Miller had opened a news- 
paper, and was deep in an editorial which set forth in 
glowing language the inestimable advantages which 
would follow to certain recently acquired islands by 
the introduction of American liberty, when the rear 
door of the car opened to give entrance to Captain 
George McBane, who took a seat near the door and 
lit a cigar. Miller knew him quite well by sight and 
by reputation, and detested him as heartily. He re- 
presented the aggressive, offensive element among the 
white people of the New South, who made it hard for a 
negro to maintain his self-respect or to enjoy even the 
rights conceded to colored men by Southern laws. 
McBane had undoubtedly identified him to the conduc- 
tor in the other car. Miller had no desire to thrust 
himself upon the society of white people, which, indeed, 
to one who had traveled so much and so far, was no 
novelty ; but he very naturally resented being at this 
late day — the law had been in operation only a few 
months — branded and tagged and set apart from the 
rest of mankind upon the public highways, like an 
unclean thing. Nevertheless, he preferred even this 
to the exclusive society of Captain George McBane. 

" Porter," he demanded of the colored train attache 
who passed through the car a moment later, " is this a 
smoking car for white men ? " 

" No, suh," replied the porter, " but they comes in 
here sometimes, when they am' no cullud ladies on the 
kyar." 

" Well, I have paid first-class fare, and I object to 
that man's smoking in here. You tell him to go out." 

" I '11 tell the conductor, suh," returned the porter 
in a low tone. " I 'd jus' as soon talk ter the devil as 
ter that man." 



58 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

The white man had spread himself over two seats, 
and was smoking vigorously, from time to time spitting 
carelessly in the aisle, when the conductor entered the 
compartment. 

" Captain," said Miller, "this car is plainly marked 
' Colored.' I have paid first-class fare, and I object 
to riding in a smoking car." 

" All right," returned the conductor, frowning irri- 
tably. " I '11 speak to him." 

He walked over to the white passenger, with whom 
he was evidently acquainted, since he adressed him by 
name. 

" Captain McBane," he said, " it 's against the law 
for you to ride in the nigger car." 

" Who are you talkin' to ? " returned the other. 
" I '11 ride where I damn please." 

" Yes, sir, but the colored passenger objects. I 'm 
afraid I '11 have to ask you to go into the smoking- 
car." 

" The hell you say ! " rejoined McBane. " I '11 leave 
this car when I get good and ready, and that won't 
be till I 've finished this cigar. See ? " 

He was as good as his word. The conductor escaped 
from the car before Miller had time for further expos- 
tulation. Finally McBane, having thrown the stump 
of his cigar into the aisle and added to the floor a 
finishing touch in the way of expectoration, rose and 
went back into the white car. 

Left alone in his questionable glory, Miller buried 
himself again in his newspaper, from which he did not 
look up until the engine stopped at a tank station to 
take water. 

As the train came to a standstill, a huge negro, 
covered thickly with dust, crawled off one of the rear 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 59 

trucks unobserved, and ran round the rear end of 
the car to a watering-trough by a neighboring well. 
Moved either by extreme thirst or by the fear that his 
time might be too short to permit him to draw a bucket 
of water, he threw himself down by the trough, drank 
long and deep, and plunging his head into the water, 
shook himself like a wet dog, and crept furtively back 
to his dangerous perch. 

Miller, who had seen this man from the car window, 
had noticed a very singular thing. As the dusty tramp 
passed the rear coach, he cast toward it a glance of 
intense ferocity. Up to that moment the man's face, 
which Miller had recognized under its grimy coating, 
had been that of an ordinarily good-natured, somewhat 
reckless, pleasure-loving negro, at present rather the 
worse for wear. The change that now came over 
it suggested a concentrated hatred almost uncanny 
in its murderousness. With awakened curiosity Miller 
followed the direction of the negro's glance, and saw 
that it rested upon a window where Captain McBane 
sat looking out. When Miller looked back, the negro 
had disappeared. 

At the next station a Chinaman, of the ordinary 
laundry type, boarded the train, and took his seat in 
the white car without objection. At another point a 
colored nurse found a place with her mistress. 

" White people," said Miller to himself, who had 
seen these passengers from the window, " do not object 
to the negro as a servant. As the traditional negro, — 
the servant, — he is welcomed ; as an equal, he is re- 
pudiated." 

Miller was something of a philosopher. He had 
long ago Tiad the conclusion forced upon him that an 
educated man of his race, in order to live comfortably 



60 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

in the United States, must be either a philosopher or a 
fool ; and since he wished to be happy, and was not 
exactly a fool, he had cultivated philosophy. By and 
by he saw a white man, with a dog, enter the rear 
coach. Miller wondered whether the dog would be 
allowed to ride with his master, and if not, what dis- 
position would be made of him. He was a handsome 
dog, and Miller, who was fond of animals, would not 
have objected to the company of a dog, as a dog. He 
was nevertheless conscious of a queer sensation when 
he saw the porter take the dog by the collar and start 
in his own direction, and felt consciously relieved when 
the canine passenger was taken on past him into the 
baggage-car ahead. Miller's hand was hanging over 
the arm of his seat, and the dog, an intelligent shep- 
herd, licked it as he passed. Miller was not entirely 
sure that he would not have liked the porter to leave 
the dog there ; he was a friendly dog, and seemed in- 
clined to be sociable. 

Toward evening the train drew up at a station where 
quite a party of farm laborers, fresh from their daily 
toil, swarmed out from the conspicuously labeled 
colored waiting-room, and into the car with Miller. 
They were a jolly, good-natured crowd, and, free from 
the embarrassing presence of white people, proceeded 
to enjoy themselves after their own fashion. Here an 
amorous fellow sat with his arm around a buxom girl's 
waist. A musically inclined individual — his talents 
did not go far beyond inclination — produced a mouth- 
organ and struck up a tune, to which a limber-legged 
boy danced in the aisle. They were noisy, loquacious, 
happy, dirty, and malodorous. For a while Miller was 
amused and pleased. They were his people, and he 
felt a certain expansive warmth toward them in spite 



A JOURNEY SOUTHWARD 61 

of their obvious shortcomings. By and by, however, 
the air became too close, and he went out upon the 
platform. For the sake of the democratic ideal, which 
meant so much to his race, he might have endured 
the affliction. He could easily imagine that people of 
refinement, with the power in their hands, might be 
tempted to strain the democratic ideal in order to 
avoid such contact ; but personally, and apart from 
the mere matter of racial sympathy, these people were 
just as offensive to him as to the whites in the other 
end of the train. Surely, if a classification of passen- 
gers on trains was at all desirable, it might be made 
upon some more logical and considerate basis than a 
mere arbitrary, tactless, and, by the very nature of 
things, brutal drawing of a color line. It was a veri- 
table bed of Procrustes, this standard which the whites 
had set for the negroes. Those who grew above it 
must have their heads cut off, figuratively speaking, 
— must be forced back to the level assigned to their 
race ; those who fell beneath the standard set had 
their necks stretched, literally enough, as the ghastly 
record in the daily papers gave conclusive evidence. 

Miller breathed more freely when the lively crowd 
got off at the next station, after a short ride. More- 
over, he had a light heart, a conscience void of 
offense, and was only thirty years old. His philoso- 
phy had become somewhat jaded on this journey, but 
he pulled it together for a final effort. Was it not, 
after all, a wise provision of nature that had given 
to a race, destined to a long servitude and a slow emer- 
gence therefrom, a cheerfulness of spirit which ena- 
bled them to catch pleasure on the wing, and endure 
with equanimity the ills that seemed inevitable ? The 
ability to live and thrive under adverse circumstances 



62 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

is the surest guaranty of the future. The race which 
at the last shall inherit the earth — the residuary 
legatee of civilization — will be the race which re- 
mains longest upon it. The negro was here before 
the Anglo-Saxon was evolved, and his thick lips and 
heavy-lidded eyes looked out from the inscrutable 
face of the Sphinx across the sands of Egypt while 
yet the ancestors of those who now oppress him were 
living in caves, practicing human sacrifice, and paint- 
ing themselves with woad — and the negro is here 
yet. 

" ' Blessed are the meek,' " quoted Miller at the end 
of these consoling reflections, " ' for they shall inherit 
the earth.' If this be true, the negro may yet come 
into his estate, for meekness seems to be set apart as 
his portion." 

The journey came to an end just as the sun had 
sunk into the west. 

Simultaneously with Miller's* exit from the train, a 
great black figure crawled off the trucks of the rear 
car, on the side opposite the station platform. Stretch- 
ing and shaking himseK with a free gesture, the black 
man, seeing himself unobserved, moved somewhat 
stiffly round the end of the car to the station platform. 

" To de Lawd ! " he muttered, " ef I had n' had a 
cha'm' life, I 'd 'a' never got here on dat ticket, an' 
dat 's a f ac' — it sho' am ! I kind er Towed I wuz 
gone a dozen times, ez it wuz. But I got my job ter 
do in dis woiT, an' I knows I ain' gwine ter die 'tel 
I 've 'complished it. I jes' want one mo' look at dat 
man, an' den I '11 haf ter git somethin' ter eat ; f er 
two raw turnips in twelve hours is slim pickin's fer a 
man er my size ! " 



VI 

JANET 

As the train drew up at the station platform, Dr. 
Price came forward from the white waiting-room, and 
stood expectantly by the door of the white coach. 
Miller, having left his car, came down the platform in 
time to intercept Burns as he left the train, and to in- 
troduce him to Dr. Price. 

" My carriage is in waiting," said Dr. Price. " I 
should have liked to have you at my own house, but 
my wife is out of town. We have a good hotel, how- 
ever, and you will doubtless find it more convenient." 

" You are very kind, Dr. Price. Miller, won't you 
come up and dine with me ? " 

"Thank you, no," said Miller, "I am expected at 
home. My wife and child are waiting for me in the 
buggy yonder by the platform." 

" Oh, very well ; of course you must go ; but don't 
forget our appointment. Let 's see, Dr. Price, I can 
eat and get ready in half an hour — that will make 
it" — 

" I have asked several of the local physicians to be 
present at eight o'clock," said Dr. Price. " The case 
can safely wait until then." 

" Very well, Miller, be on hand at eight. I shall 
expect you without fail. Where shall he come, Dr. 
Price ? " 

" To the residence of Major Philip Carteret, on 
Vine Street." 



64 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" I have invited Dr. Miller to be present and assist 
in the operation," Dr. Burns continued, as they drove 
toward the hotel. " He was a favorite pupil of mine, 
and is a credit to the profession. I presume you saw 
his article in the Medical Gazette ? " 

" Yes, and I assisted him in the case," returned Dr. 
Price. " It was a colored lad, one of his patients, and 
he called me in to help him. He is a capable man, 
and very much liked by the white physicians." 

Miller's wife and child were waiting for him in 
fluttering anticipation. He kissed them both as he 
climbed into the buggy. 

" We came at four o'clock," said Mrs. Miller, a 
handsome young woman, who might be anywhere 
between twenty-five and thirty, and whose complexion, 
in the twilight, was not distinguishable from that of a 
white person, " but the train was late two hours, they 
said. We came back at six, and have been waiting 
ever since." 

" Yes, papa," piped the child, a little boy of six or 
seven, who sat between them, u and I am very hungry." 

Miller felt very much elated as he drove homeward 
through the twilight. By his side sat the two persons 
whom he loved best in all the world. His affairs 
were prosperous. Upon opening his office in the city, 
he had been received by the members of his own pro- 
fession with a cordiality generally frank, and in no 
case much reserved. The colored population of the 
city was large, but in the main poor, and the white 
physicians were not unwilling to share this unprofit- 
able practice with a colored doctor worthy of confi- 
dence. In the intervals of the work upon his hospital, 
he had built up a considerable practice among his 
own people ; but except in the case of some poor un- 



JANET 65 

fortunate whose pride had been lost in poverty or sin, 
no white patient had ever called upon him for treat- 
ment. He knew very well the measure of his powers, 
— a liberal education had given him opportunity to 
compare himself with other men, — and was secretly 
conscious that in point of skill and knowledge he did 
not suffer by comparison with any other physician in 
the town. He liked to believe that the race antagonism 
which hampered his progress and that of his people 
was a mere temporary thing, the outcome of former 
conditions, and bound to disappear in time, and that 
when a colored man should demonstrate to the com- 
munity in which he lived that he possessed character 
and power, that community would find a way in which 
to enlist his services for the public good. 

He had already made himself useful, and had re- 
ceived many kind words and other marks of appre- 
ciation. He was now offered a further confirmation 
of his theory : having recognized his skill, the white 
people were now ready to take advantage of it. Any 
lurking doubt he may have felt when first invited by 
Dr. Burns to participate in the operation, had been 
dispelled by Dr. Price's prompt acquiescence. 

On the way homeward Miller told his wife of this 
appointment. She was greatly interested ; she was 
herself a mother, with an only child. Moreover, there 
was a stronger impulse than mere humanity to draw 
her toward the stricken mother. Janet had a tender 
heart, and could have loved this white sister, her sole 
living relative of whom she knew. All her life long 
she had yearned for a kind word, a nod, a smile, the 
least thing that imagination might have twisted into 
a recognition of the tie between them. But it had 
never come. 



66 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

And yet Janet was not angry. She was of a for- 
giving temper ; she could never bear malice. She 
was educated, had read many books, and appreciated 
to the full the social forces arrayed against any such 
recognition as she had dreamed of. Of the two 
barriers between them a man might have forgiven the 
one ; a woman would not be likely to overlook either 
the bar sinister or the difference of race, even to the 
slight extent of a silent recognition. Blood is thicker 
than water, but, if it flow too far from conventional 
channels, may turn to gall and wormwood. Never- 
theless, when the heart speaks, reason falls into the 
background, and Janet would have worshiped this 
sister, even afar off, had she received even the slightest 
encouragement. So strong was this weakness that 
she had been angry with herself for her lack of pride, 
or even of a decent self-respect. It was, she some- 
times thought, the heritage of her mother's race, and 
she was ashamed of it as part of the taint of slavery. 
She had never acknowledged, even to her husband, 
from whom she concealed nothing else, her secret 
thoughts upon this lifelong sorrow. This silent grief 
was nature's penalty, or society's revenge, for what- 
ever heritage of beauty or intellect or personal charm 
had come to her with her father's blood. For she had 
received no other inheritance. Her sister was rich by 
right of her birth ; if Janet had been fortunate, her 
good fortune had not been due to any provision made 
for her by her white father. 

She knew quite well how passionately, for many 
years, her proud sister had longed and prayed in vain 
for the child which had at length brought joy into her 
household, and she could feel, by sympathy, all the 
sickening suspense with which the child's parents must 
await the result of this dangerous operation. 



JANET 67 

" O Will," she adjured her husband anxiously, when 
he had told her of the engagement, "you must be very 
careful. Think of the child's poor mother ! Think 
of our own dear child, and what it would mean to 
lose him ! " 



VII 

THE OPEEATION 

Dr. Price was not entirely at ease in his mind as 
the two doctors drove rapidly from the hotel to Major 
Carteret's. Himself a liberal man, from his point of 
view, he saw no reason why a colored doctor might 
not operate upon a white male child, — there are fine 
distinctions in the application of the color line, — but 
several other physicians had been invited, some of 
whom were men of old-fashioned notions, who might 
not relish such an innovation. 

This, however, was*but a small difficulty compared 
with what might be feared from Major Carteret him- 
self. For he knew Carteret's unrelenting hostility to 
anything that savored of recognition of the negro as 
the equal of white men. It was traditional in Well- 
ington that no colored person had ever entered the 
front door of the Carteret residence, and that the 
luckless individual who once presented himself there 
upon alleged business and resented being ordered to 
the back door had been unceremoniously thrown over 
the piazza railing into a rather thorny clump of rose- 
bushes below. If Miller were going as a servant, to 
hold a basin or a sponge, there would be no difficulty ; 
but as a surgeon — well, he would n't borrow trouble. 
Under the circumstances the major might yield a 
point. 

But as they neared the house the major's unyield- 



THE OPERATION 69 

ing disposition loomed up formidably. Perhaps if 
the matter were properly presented to Dr. Burns, he 
might consent to withdraw the invitation. It was not 
yet too late to send Miller a note. 

" By the way, Dr. Burns," he said, " I 'm very 
friendly to Dr. Miller, and should personally like to 
have him with us to-night. But — I ought to have 
told you this before, but I could n't very well do so, 
on such short notice, in Miller's presence — we are 
a conservative people, and our local customs are not 
very flexible. We jog along in much the same old 
way our fathers did. I 'm not at all sure that Major 
Carteret or the other gentlemen would consent to the 
presence of a negro doctor." 

" I think you misjudge your own people," returned 
Dr. Burns, " they are broader than you think. We 
have our prejudices against the negro at the North, 
but we do not let them stand in the way of anything 
that we want. At any rate, it is too late now, and I 
will accept the responsibility. If the question is 
raised, I will attend to it. When I am performing 
an operation I must be aut Ccesar, aut nullus" 

Dr. Price was not reassured, but he had done his 
duty and felt the reward of virtue. If there should 
be trouble, he would not be responsible. Moreover, 
there was a large fee at stake, and Dr. Burns was not 
likely to prove too obdurate. 

They were soon at Carteret's, where they found 
assembled the several physicians invited by Dr. Price. 
These were successively introduced as Drs. Dudley, 
Hooper, and Ashe, all of whom were gentlemen of 
good standing, socially and in their profession, and 
considered it a high privilege to witness so delicate 
an operation at the hands of so eminent a member of 
their profession. 



70 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Major Carteret entered the room and was duly pre- 
sented to the famous specialist. Carteret's anxious 
look lightened somewhat at sight of the array of tal- 
ent present. It suggested, of course, the gravity of 
the impending event, but gave assurance of all the 
skill and care which science could afford. 

Dr. Burns was shown to the nursery, from which 
he returned in five minutes. 

" The case is ready," he announced. " Are the 
gentlemen all present ? " 

" I believe so," answered Dr. Price quickly. 

Miller had not yet arrived. Perhaps, thought Dr. 
Price, a happy accident, or some imperative call, had 
detained him. This would be fortunate indeed. Dr. 
Burns's square jaw had a very determined look. It 
would be a pity if any acrimonious discussion should 
arise on the eve of a delicate operation. If the clock 
on the mantel would only move faster, the question 
might never come up. 

" 1 don't see Dr. Miller," observed Dr. Burns, look- 
ing around the room. " I asked him to come at eight. 
There are ten minutes yet." 

Major Carteret looked up with a sudden frown. 

" May I ask to whom you refer ? " he inquired, in 
an ominous tone. 

The other gentlemen showed signs of interest, not 
to say emotion. Dr. Price smiled quizzically. 

" Dr. Miller, of your city. He was one of my 
favorite pupils. He is also a graduate of the Vienna 
hospitals, and a surgeon of unusual skill. I have 
asked him to assist in the operation." 

Every eye was turned toward Carteret, whose crim- 
soned face had set in a look of grim determination. 

" The person to whom you refer is a negro, I be- 
lieve ? " he said. 



THE OPERATION 71 

" He is a colored man, certainly," returned Dr. 
Barns, "though one would never think of his color 
after knowing him well." 

" I do not know, sir," returned Carteret, with an 
effort at self-control, " what the customs of Philadel- 
phia or Vienna may be ; but in the South we do not 
call negro doctors to attend white patients. I could 
not permit a negro to enter my house upon such an 
errand." 

" I am here, sir," replied Dr. Burns with spirit, 
" to perform a certain operation. Since I assume 
the responsibility, the case must be under my entire 
control. Otherwise I cannot operate." 

" Gentlemen," interposed Dr. Price, smoothly, " I 
beg of you both — this is a matter for calm discussion, 
and any asperity is to be deplored. The life at stake 
here should not be imperiled by any consideration of 
minor importance." 

" Your humanity does you credit, sir," retorted Dr. 
Burns. " But other matters, too, are important. I 
have invited this gentleman here. My professional 
honor is involved, and I merely invoke my rights to 
maintain it. It is a matter of principle, which ought 
not to give way to a mere prejudice." 

" That also states the case for Major Carteret," re- 
joined Dr. Price, suavely. " He has certain princi- 
ples, — call them prejudices, if you like, — certain 
inflexible rules of conduct by which he regulates his 
life. One of these, which he shares with us all in 
some degree, forbids the recognition of the negro as 
a social equal." 

" I do not know what Miller's social value may be," 
replied Dr. Burns, stoutly, " or whether you gain or 
lose by your attitude toward him. I have invited 



72 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

him here in a strictly professional capacity, with 
which his color is not at all concerned." 

" Dr. Burns does not quite appreciate Major Car- 
teret's point of view," said Dr. Price. "This is not 
with him an unimportant matter, or a mere question 
of prejudice, or even of personal taste. It is a sacred 
principle, lying at the very root of our social order, 
involving the purity and prestige of our race. You 
Northern gentlemen do not quite appreciate our situa- 
tion ; if you lived here a year or two you would act as 
we do. Of course," he added, diplomatically, #* if 
there were no alternative — if Dr. Burns were willing 
to put Dr. Miller's presence on the ground of impera- 
tive necessity " — 

" I do nothing of the kind, sir," retorted Dr. 
Burns with some heat. " I have not come all the way 
from Philadelphia to undertake an operation which I 
cannot perform without the aid of some particular 
physician. I merely stand upon my professional 
rights." 

Carteret was deeply agitated. The operation must 
not be deferred ; his child's life might be endangered 
by delay. If the negro's presence were indispensable 
he would even submit to it, though in order to avoid 
so painful a necessity, he would rather humble him- 
self to the Northern doctor. The latter course in- 
volved merely a personal sacrifice — the former a 
vital principle. Perhaps there was another way of 
escape. Miller's presence could not but be distaste- 
ful to Mrs. Carteret for other reasons. Miller's wife 
was the living evidence of a painful episode in Mrs. 
Carteret's family, which the doctor's presence would 
inevitably recall. Once before, Mrs. Carteret's life 
had been endangered by encountering, at a time of 



THE OPERATION 73 

great nervous strain, this ill-born sister and her child. 
She was even now upon the verge of collapse at the 
prospect of her child's suffering, and should be pro- 
tected from the intrusion of any idea which might 
add to her distress. 

44 Dr. Burns," he said, with the suave courtesy which 
was part of his inheritance, " I beg your pardon for 
my heat, and throw myself upon your magnanimity, 
as between white men " — 

44 I am a gentleman, sir, before I am a white man," 
interposed Dr. Burns, slightly mollified, however, by 
Carteret's change of manner. 

44 The terms should be synonymous," Carteret could 
not refrain from saying. 44 As between white men, 
and gentlemen, I say to you, frankly, that there are 
vital, personal reasons, apart from Dr. Miller's color, 
why his presence in this house would be distasteful. 
With this statement, sir, I throw myself upon your 
mercy. My child's life is worth more to me than any 
earthly thing, and I must be governed by your de- 
cision." 

Dr. Burns was plainly wavering. The clock moved 
with provoking slowness. Miller would be there in 
five minutes. 

44 May I speak with you privately a moment, 
doctor ? " asked Dr. Price. 

They withdrew from the room and were engaged in 
conversation for a few moments. Dr. Burns finally 
yielded. 

44 1 shall nevertheless feel humiliated when I meet 
Miller again," he said, 44 but of course if there is a 
personal question involved, that alters the situation. 
Had it been merely a matter of color, I should have 
maintained my position. As things stand, I wash my 



74 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

hands of the whole affair, so far as Miller is concerned, 
like Pontius Pilate — yes, indeed, sir, I feel very much 
like that individual." 

" I '11 explain the matter to Miller," returned Dr. 
Price, amiably, " and make it all right with him. 
We Southern people understand the negroes better 
than you do, sir. Why should we not ? They have 
been constantly under our interested observation for 
several hundred years. You feel this vastly more than 
Miller will. He knows the feeling of the white peo- 
ple, and is accustomed to it. He wishes to live and 
do business here, and is quite too shrewd to antag- 
onize his neighbors or come where he is not wanted. 
He is in fact too much of a gentleman to do so." 

" I shall leave the explanation to you entirely," re- 
joined Dr. Burns, as they reentered the other room. 

Carteret led the way to the nursery, where the oper- 
ation was to take place. Dr. Price lingered for a 
moment. Miller was not likely to be behind the 
hour, if he came at all, and it would be well to head 
him off before the operation began. 

Scarcely had the rest left the room when the door- 
bell sounded, and a servant announced Dr. Miller. 

Dr. Price stepped into the hall and met Miller face 
to face. 

He had meant to state the situation to Miller frankly, 
but now that the moment had come he wavered. He 
was a fine physician, but he shrank from strenuous 
responsibilities. It had been easy to theorize about 
the negro ; it was more difficult to look this man in 
the eyes — whom at this moment he felt to be as 
essentially a gentleman as himself — and tell him the 
humiliating truth. 

As a physician his method was to ease pain — he 



THE OPERATION 75 

would rather take the risk of losing a patient from the 
use of an anaesthetic than from the shock of an opera- 
tion. He liked Miller, wished him well, and would not 
wittingly wound his feelings. He really thought him 
too much of a gentleman for the town, in view of the 
restrictions with which he must inevitably be hampered. 
There was something melancholy, to a cultivated mind, 
about a sensitive, educated man who happened to be 
off color. Such a person was a sort of social misfit, an 
odd quantity, educated out of his own class, with no 
possible hope of entrance into that above it. He felt 
quite sure that if he had been in Miller's place, he 
would never have settled in the South — he would have 
moved to Europe, or to the West Indies, or some 
Central or South American state where questions of 
color were not regarded as vitally important. 

Dr. Price did not like to lie, even to a negro. To a 
man of his own caste, his word was his bond. If it 
were painful to lie, it would be humiliating to be 
found out. The principle of noblesse oblige was also 
involved in the matter. His claim of superiority to 
the colored doctor rested fundamentally upon the fact 
that he was white and Miller was not ; and yet this 
superiority, for which he could claim no credit, since 
he had not made himself, was the very breath of his 
nostrils, — he would not have changed places with 
the other for wealth untold ; and as a gentleman, he 
would not care to have another gentleman, even a 
colored man, catch him in a lie. Of this, however, 
there was scarcely any danger. A word to the other 
surgeons would insure their corroboration of whatever 
he might tell Miller. No one of them would willingly 
wound Dr. Miller or embarrass Dr. Price ; indeed, 
they need not know that Miller had come in time for 
the operation. 



76 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" I 'm sorry, Miller," he said with apparent regret, 
" hut we were here ahead of time, and the case took a 
turn which would admit of no delay, so the gentlemen 
went in. Dr. Burns is with the patient now, and 
asked me to explain why we did not wait for you." 

" I 'm sorry too," returned Miller, regretfully, but 
nothing doubting. He was well aware that in such 
cases danger might attend upon delay. He had lost 
his chance, through no fault of his own or of any one 
else. 

" I hope that all is well ? " he said, hesitatingly, not 
sure whether he would be asked to remain. 

" All is well, so far. Step round to my office in the 
morning, Miller, or come in when you 're passing, and 
I '11 tell you the details." 

This was tantamount to a dismissal, so Miller took 
his leave. Descending the doorsteps, he stood for a 
moment, undecided whether to return home or to go 
to the hotel and await the return of Dr. Burns, when 
he heard his name called from the house in a low 
tone. 

" Oh, doctuh ! " 

He stepped back toward the door, outside of which 
stood the colored servant who had just let him out. 

" Dat 's all a lie, doctuh," he whispered, " 'bout de 
operation bein' already pe'fo'med. Dey-all had jes' 
gone in de minute befo' you come — Doctuh Price 
had n' even got out 'n de room. Dey be'n quollin' 
'bout you fer de las' ha'f hour. Majah Ca'te'et say 
he would n' have you, an' de No'then doctuh say he 
would n't do nothin' widout you, an' Doctuh Price he 
j'ined in on bofe sides, an' dey had it hot an' heavy, 
nip an' tuck, till bimeby Majah Ca'te'et up an' say it 
wa'n't altogether yo' color he objected to, an' wid dat 



THE OPERATION 77 

de No'then doctuh give in. He 's a fine man, suh, but 
dey wuz too much fer 'im ! " 

" Thank you, Sam, I 'm much obliged," returned 
Miller mechanically. " One likes to know the truth." 

Truth, it has been said, is mighty, and must prevail ; 
but it sometimes leaves a bad taste in the mouth. In 
the ordinary course of events Miller would not have 
anticipated such an invitation, and for that reason had 
appreciated it all the more. The rebuff came with a 
corresponding shock. He had the heart of a man, the 
sensibilities of a cultivated gentleman ; the one was 
sore, the other deeply wounded. He was not altogether 
sure, upon reflection, whether he blamed Dr. Price 
very much for the amiable lie, which had been meant 
to spare his feelings, or thanked Sam a great deal for 
the unpalatable truth. 

Janet met him at the door. " How is the baby ? " 
she asked excitedly. 

" Dr. Price says he is doing well." 

" What is the matter, Will, and why are you back 
so soon ? " 

He would have spared her the story, but she was a 
woman, and would have it. He was wounded, too, and 
wanted sympathy, of which Janet was an exhaustless 
fountain. So he told her what had happened. She 
comforted him after the manner of a loving woman, 
and felt righteously indignant toward her sister's hus- 
band, who had thus been instrumental in the humilia- 
tion of her own. Her anger did not embrace her sister, 
and yet she felt obscurely that their unacknowledged 
relationship had been the malignant force which had 
given her husband pain, and defeated his honorable 
ambition. 



78 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

When Dr. Price entered the nursery, Dr. Burns was 
leaning attentively over the operating table. The 
implements needed for the operation were all in readi- 
ness — the knives, the basin, the sponge, the materials 
for dressing the wound — all the ghastly parapherna- 
lia of vivisection. 

Mrs. Carteret had been banished to another room, 
where Clara vainly attempted to soothe her. Old 
Mammy Jane, still burdened by her fears, fervently 
prayed the good Lord to spare the life of the sweet 
little grandson of her dear old mistress. 

Dr. Burns had placed his ear to the child's chest, 
which had been bared for the incision. Dr. Price 
stood ready to administer the anaesthetic. Little 
Dodie looked up wi'th a faint expression of wonder, as 
if dimly conscious of some unusual event. The major 
shivered at the thought of what the child must 
undergo. 

"There's a change in his breathing," said Dr. 
Burns, lifting his head. " The whistling noise is less 
pronounced, and he breathes easier. The obstruction 
seems to have shifted." 

Applying his ear again to the child's throat, he 
listened for a moment intently, and then picking the 
baby up from the table, gave it a couple of sharp 
claps between the shoulders. Simultaneously a small 
object shot out from the child's mouth, struck Dr. 
Price in the neighborhood of his waistband, and then 
rattled lightly against the floor. Whereupon the 
baby, as though conscious of his narrow escape, smiled 
and gurgled, and reaching upward clutched the doctor's 
whiskers with his little hand, which, according to old 
Jane, had a stronger grip than any other infant's in 
Wellington. 



VIII 

THE CAMPAIGN DRAGS 

The campaign for white supremacy was dragging. 
Carteret had set out, in the columns of the Morning 
Chronicle, all the reasons why this movement, in- 
augurated by the three men who had met, six months 
before, at the office of the Chronicle, should be sup- 
ported by the white public. Negro citizenship was a 
grotesque farce — Sambo and Dinah raised from the 
kitchen to the cabinet were a spectacle to make the 
gods laugh. The laws by which it had been sought 
to put the negroes on a level with the whites must 
be swept away in theory, as they had failed in fact. 
If it were impossible, without a further education of 
public opinion, to secure the repeal of the fifteenth 
amendment, it was at least the solemn duty of the 
state to endeavor, through its own constitution, to 
escape from the domination of a weak and incompetent 
electorate and confine the negro to that inferior con- 
dition for which nature had evidently designed him. 

In spite of the force and intelligence with which 
Carteret had expressed these and similar views, they 
had not met the immediate response anticipated. 
There were thoughtful men, willing to let well enough 
alone, who saw no necessity for such a movement. 
They believed that peace, prosperity, and popular 
education offered a surer remedy for social ills than 
the reopening of issues supposed to have been settled. 



80 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

There were timid men who shrank from civic strife. 
There were busy men, who had something else to 
do. There were a few fair men, prepared to admit, 
privately, that a class constituting half to two thirds 
of the population were fairly entitled to some represen- 
tation in the law-making bodies. Perhaps there might 
have been found, somewhere in the state, a single 
white man ready to concede that all men were entitled 
to equal rights before the law. 

That there were some white men who had learned 
little and forgotten nothing goes without saying, for 
knowledge and wisdom are not impartially distributed 
among even the most favored race. There were 
ignorant and vicious negroes, and they had a mono- 
poly of neither ignorance nor crime, for there were 
prosperous negroes and poverty-stricken whites. Un- 
til Carteret and his committee began their baleful 
campaign the people of the state were living in peace 
and harmony. The anti-negro legislation in more 
southern states, with large negro majorities, had awak- 
ened scarcely an echo in this state, with a population 
two thirds white. Even the triumph of the Fusion 
party had not been regarded as a race issue. It re- 
mained for Carteret and his friends to discover, with 
inspiration from whatever supernatural source the dis- 
criminating reader may elect, that the darker race, 
docile by instinct, humble by training, patiently wait- 
ing upon its as yet uncertain destiny, was an incubus, 
a corpse chained to the body politic, and that the 
negro vote was a source of danger to the state, no 
matter how cast or by whom directed. 

To discuss means for counteracting this apathy, a 
meeting of the " Big Three," as they had begun to 
designate themselves jocularly, was held at the office 



THE CAMPAIGN DRAGS 81 

of the " Morning Chronicle," on the next day but one 
after little Dodie's fortunate escape from the knife. 

" It seems," said General Belmont, opening the dis- 
cussion, " as though we had undertaken more than we 
can carry through. It is clear that we must reckon 
on opposition, both at home and abroad. If we are 
to hope for success, we must extend the lines of our 
campaign. The North, as well as our own people, 
must be convinced that we have right upon our side. 
We are conscious of the purity of our motives, but we 
should avoid even the appearance of evil." 

McBane was tapping the floor impatiently with his 
foot during this harangue. 

" I don't see the use," he interrupted, " of so much 
beating about the bush. We may as well be honest 
about this thing. We are going to put the niggers 
down because we want to, and think we can ; so why 
waste our time in mere pretense ? I'm no hypocrite 
myself, — if I want a thing I take it, provided I 'm 
strong enough." 

"My dear captain," resumed the general, with 
biting suavity, " your frankness does you credit, — 
1 an honest man 's the noblest work of God,' — but we 
cannot carry on politics in these degenerate times 
without a certain amount of diplomacy. In the good 
old days when your father was alive, and perhaps 
nowadays in the discipline of convicts, direct and 
simple methods might be safely resorted to ; but this 
is a modern age, and in dealing with so fundamental 
a right as the suffrage we must profess a decent re- 
gard for the opinions of even that misguided por- 
tion of mankind which may not agree with us. This 
is the age of crowds, and we must have the crowd 
with us." 



82 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

The captain flushed at the allusion to his father's 
calling, at which he took more offense than at the 
mention of his own. He knew perfectly well that 
these old aristocrats, while reaping the profits of 
slavery, had despised the instruments by which they 
were attained — the poor-white overseer only less 
than the black slave. McBane was rich ; he lived in 
Wellington, but he had never been invited to the 
home of either General Belmont or Major Carteret, 
nor asked to join the club of which they were mem- 
bers. His face, therefore, wore a distinct scowl, and 
his single eye glowed ominously. He would help 
these fellows carry the state for white supremacy, 
and then he would have his innings, — he would have 
more to say than they dreamed, as to who should fill 
the offices under the new deal. Men of no better 
birth or breeding than he had represented Southern 
states in Congress since the war. Why should he 
not run for governor, representative, whatever he 
chose ? He had money enough to buy out half a 
dozen of these broken-down aristocrats, and money 
was all-powerful. 

"You see, captain," the general went on, looking 
McBane smilingly and unflinchingly in the eye, " we 
need white immigration — we need Northern capital. 
' A good name is better than great riches,' and we 
must prove our cause a righteous one." 

" We must be armed at all points," added Carteret, 
" and prepared for defense as well as for attack, — we 
must make our campaign a national one." 

" For instance," resumed the general, " you, Car- 
teret, represent the Associated Press. Through your 
hands passes all the news of the state. What more 
powerful medium for the propagation of an idea? 



THE CAMPAIGN DRAGS . 83 

The man who would govern a nation by writing its 
songs was a blethering idiot beside the fellow who 
can edit its news dispatches. The negroes are play- 
ing into our hands, — every crime that one of them 
commits is reported by us. With the latitude they 
have had in this state they are growing more im- 
pudent and self-assertive every day. A yellow dema- 
gogue in New York made a speech only a few days 
ago, in which he deliberately, and in cold blood, ad- 
vised negroes to defend themselves to the death when 
attacked by white people ! I remember well the time 
when it was death for a negro to strike a white man." 

" It 's death now, if he strikes the right one," inter- 
jected McBane, restored to better humor by this men- 
tion of a congenial subject. 

The general smiled a fine smile. He had heard the 
story of how McBane had lost his other eye. 

" The local negro paper is quite outspoken, too," 
continued the general, " if not impudent. We must 
keep track of that ; it may furnish us some good cam- 
paign material." 

" Yes," returned Carteret, " we must see to that. 
I threw a copy into the waste-basket this morning, 
without looking at it. Here it is now ! " 



IX 

A WHITE MAN'S "NIGGER" 

Carteret fished from the depths of the waste- 
basket and handed to the general an eighteen by 
twenty-four sheet, poorly printed on cheap paper, with 
a " patent " inside, a number of advertisements of pro- 
prietary medicines, quack doctors, and fortune-tellers, 
and two or three columns of editorial and local news. 
Candor compels the admission that it was not an im- 
pressive sheet in any respect, except when regarded 
as the first local effort of a struggling people to make 
public expression of their life and aspirations. From 
this point of view it did not speak at all badly for 
a class to whom, a generation before, newspapers, 
books, and learning had been forbidden fruit. 

" It 's an elegant specimen of journalism, is n't it? " 
laughed the general, airily. " Listen to this ' ad ' : — 

" ' Kinky, curly hair made straight by one applica- 
tion of our specific. Our face bleach will turn the 
skin of a black or brown person four or five shades 
lighter, and of a mulatto perfectly white. When you 
get the color you wish, stop using the preparation.' 

" Just look at those heads ! — ' Before using ' and 
' After using.' We 'd better hurry, or there '11 be no 
negroes to disfranchise ! If they don't stop till they 
get the color they desire, and the stuff works accord- 
ing to contract, they '11 all be white. Ah ! what have 
we here ? This looks as though it might be serious." 



A WHITE MAN'S "NIGGER" 85 

Opening the sheet the general read aloud an edi- 
torial article, to which Carteret listened intently, his 
indignation increasing in strength from the first word 
to the last, while McBane's face grew darkly purple 
with anger. 

The article was a frank and somewhat bold discus- 
sion of lynching and its causes. It denied that most 
lynchings were for the offense most generally charged 
as their justification, and declared that, even of those 
seemingly traced to this cause, many were not for 
crimes at all, but for voluntary acts which might 
naturally be expected to follow from the miscegena- 
tion laws by which it was sought, in all the Southern 
States, to destroy liberty of contract, and, for the 
purpose of maintaining a fanciful purity of race, to 
make crimes of marriages to which neither nature nor 
religion nor the laws of other states interposed any 
insurmountable barrier. Such an article in a North- 
ern newspaper would have attracted no special atten- 
tion, and might merely have furnished food to an oc- 
casional reader for serious thought upon a subject not 
exactly agreeable ; but coming from a colored man, 
in a Southern city, it was an indictment of the laws 
and social system of the South that could not fail of 
creating a profound sensation. 

" Infamous — infamous ! " exclaimed Carteret, his 
voice trembling with emotion. " The paper should 
be suppressed immediately." 

" The impudent nigger ought to be horsewhipped 
and run out of town," growled McBane. 

" Gentlemen," said the general soothingly, after the 
first burst of indignation had subsided, " I believe we 
can find a more effective use for this article, which, 
by the way, will not bear too close analysis, — there 's 
some truth in it, at least there 's an argument." 



86 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" That is not the point," interrupted Carteret. 

" No," interjected MeBane with an oath, " that 
ain't at all the point. Truth or not, no damn nigger 
has any right to say it." 

" This article," said Carteret, " violates an un- 
written law of the South. If we are to tolerate this 
race of weaklings among us, until they are eliminated 
by the stress of competition, it must be upon terms 
which we lay down. One of our conditions is violated 
by this article, in which our wisdom is assailed, and 
our women made the subject of offensive comment. 
We must make known our disapproval." 

" I say lynch the nigger, break up the press, and 
burn down the newspaper office," MeBane responded 
promptly. 

" Gentlemen," interposed the general, " would you 
mind suspending the discussion for a moment, while I 
send Jerry across the street ? I think I can then 
suggest a better plan." 

Carteret rang the bell for Jerry, who answered 
promptly. He had been expecting such a call ever 
since the gentlemen had gone in. 

"Jerry," said the general, " step across to Brown's 
and tell him to send me three Calhoun cocktails. 
Wait for them, — here 's the money." 

" Yas, suh," replied Jerry, taking the proffered 
coin. 

" And make has'e, charcoal," added MeBane, " for 
we 're gettin' damn dry." 

A momentary cloud of annoyance darkened Car* 
teret's brow. MeBane had always grated upon his 
aristocratic susceptibilities. The captain was an up- 
start, a product of the democratic idea operating upon 
the poor white man, the descendant of the indentured 



A WHITE MAN'S "NIGGER" 87 

bondservant and the socially unfit. He had wealth 
and energy, however, and it was necessary to make 
use of him ; but the example of such men was a strong 
incentive to Carteret in his campaign against the 
negro. It was distasteful enough to rub elbows with 
an illiterate and vulgar white man of no ancestry, — 
the risk of similar contact with negroes was to be 
avoided at any cost. He could hardly expect McBane 
to be a gentleman, but when among men of that class 
he might at least try to imitate their manners. A 
gentleman did not order his own servants around 
offensively, to say nothing of another's. 

The general had observed Carteret's annoyance, 
and remarked pleasantly while they waited for the 
servant's return : — 

" Jerry, now, is a very good negro. He 's not one 
of your new negroes, who think themselves as good as 
white men, and want to run the government. Jerry 
knows his place, — he is respectful, humble, obedient, 
and content with the face and place assigned to him 
by nature." 

" Yes, he 's one of the best of 'em," sneered Mc- 
Bane. " He '11 call any man ' master ' for a quarter, 
or 4 God ' for half a dollar ; for a dollar he '11 grovel 
at your feet, and for a cast-off coat you can buy an 
option on his immortal soul, — if he has one ! I 've 
handled niggers for ten years, and I know 'em from 
the ground up. They 're all alike, — they 're a scrub 
race, an affliction to the country, and the quicker 
we 're rid of 'em all the better." 

Carteret had nothing to say by way of dissent. Mc- 
Bane's sentiments, in their last analysis, were much 
the same as his, though he would have expressed them 
less brutally. 



88 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" The negro," observed the general, daintily flicking 
the ash from his cigar, " is all right in his place and 
very useful to the community. We lived on his labor 
for quite a long time, and lived very well. Neverthe- 
less we are better off without slavery, for we can get 
more out of the free negro, and with less responsi- 
bility. I really do not see how we could get along 
without the negroes. If they were all like Jerry, 
we 'd have no trouble with them." 

Having procured the drinks, Jerry, the momentary 
subject of the race discussion which goes on eternally 
in the South, was making his way back across the 
street, somewhat disturbed in mind. 

" O Lawd ! " he groaned, " I never troubles trouble 
till trouble troubles me ; but w'en I got dem drinks 
befo', Gin'l Belmont gimme half a dollar an' tol' me 
ter keep de change. Dis time he did n' say nothin' 
'bout de change. I s'pose he jes' fergot erbout it, 
but w'at is a po' nigger gwine ter do w'en he has ter 
conten' wid w'ite folks's fergitfulniss ? I don' see no 
way but ter do some fergittin' myse'f . I '11 jes' stan' 
outside de do' here till dey gits so wrop' up in deir 
talk dat dey won' 'member nothin' e'se, an' den at de 
right minute I '11 han' de glasses 'roun, an' mos' 
lackly de gin'l '11 fergit all 'bout de change." 

While Jerry stood outside, the conversation within 
was plainly audible, and some inkling of its purport 
filtered through his mind. 

" Now, gentlemen," the general was saying, " here's 
my plan. That editorial in the negro newspaper is 
good campaign matter, but we should reserve it 
until it will be most effective. Suppose we just stick 
it in a pigeon-hole, and let the editor, — what's his 
name ? " 



A WHITE MAN'S « NIGGER" 89 

" The nigger's name is Barber," replied McBane. 
" I 'd like to have him under me for a month or two ; 
he 'd write no more editorials." 

" Let Barber have all the rope he wants," resumed 
the general, " and he '11 be sure to hang himself. In 
the mean time we will continue to work up public 
opinion, — we can use this letter privately for that 
purpose, — and when the state campaign opens we '11 
print the editorial, with suitable comment, scatter it 
broadcast throughout the state, fire the Southern 
heart, organize the white people on the color line, 
have a little demonstration with red shirts and shot- 
guns, scare the negroes into fits, win the state for 
white supremacy, and teach our colored fellow citizens 
that we are tired of negro domination and have put 
an end to it forever. The Afro- American Banner 
will doubtless die about the same time." 

" And so will the editor ! " exclaimed McBane 
ferociously ; " I '11 see to that. But I wonder where 
that nigger is with them cocktails ? I'mso thirsty I 
could swallow blue blazes." 

" Here 's yo' drinks, gin'l," announced Jerry, enter- 
ing with the glasses on a tray. 

The gentlemen exchanged compliments and imbibed 
— McBane at a gulp, Carteret with more deliberation, 
leaving about half the contents of his glass. 

The general drank slowly, with every sign of appre- 
ciation. " If the illustrious statesman," he observed, 
" whose name this mixture bears, had done nothing 
more than invent it, his fame would still deserve to 
go thundering down the endless ages." 

" It ain't bad liquor," assented McBane, smacking 
his lips. 

Jerry received the empty glasses on the tray and 



90 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

left the room. He had scarcely gained the hall when 
the general called him back. 

" O Lawd ! " groaned Jerry, " he 's gwine ter ax 
me fer de change. Yas, suh, yas, suh ; comin', gin'l, 
comin', suh ! " 

" You may keep the change, Jerry," said the gen- 
eral. 

Jerry's face grew radiant at this announcement. 
" Yas, suh, gin'l ; thank y', suh ; much obleedzed, suh. 
I wuz jus' gwine ter fetch it in, suh, w'en I had put 
de tray down. Thank y', suh, truly, suh ! " 

Jerry backed and bowed himself out into the hall. 

" Dat wuz a close shave," he muttered, as he swal- 
lowed the remaining contents of Major Carteret's glass. 
" I 'lowed dem twenty cents wuz gone dat time, — 
an' whar I wuz gwine ter git de money ter take 
my gal ter de chu'ch festibal ter-night, de Lawd only 
knows ! — 'less'n I borried it off'n Mr. Ellis, an' I 
owes him sixty cents a'ready. But I wonduh w'at 
dem w'ite folks in dere is up ter ? Dere 's one thing 
sho', — dey 're gwine ter git after de niggers some 
way er 'nuther, an' w'en dey does, whar is Jerry gwine 
ter be ? Dat 's de mos' impo'tantes' question. I 'm 
gwine ter look at dat newspaper dey be'n talkin' 'bout, 
an' 'less'n my min' changes might'ly, I 'm gwine ter 
keep my mouf shet an' stan' in wid de Angry-Saxon 
race, — ez dey calls deyse'ves nowadays, — an' keep 
on de right side er my bread an' meat. Wat nigger 
ever give me twenty cents in all my bawn days ? " 

" By the way, major," said the general, who lin- 
gered behind McBane as they were leaving, " is Miss 
Clara's marriage definitely settled upon ? " 

" Well, general, not exactly ; but it 's the under- 
standing that they will marry when they are old 
enough." 



A WHITE MAN'S "NIGGER" 91 

" I was merely thinking," the general went on, 
" that if I were you I 'cl speak to Tom about cards 
and liquor. He gives more time to both than a young 
man can afford. I 'm speaking in his interest and in 
Miss Clara's, — we of the old families ought to stand 
together." 

" Thank you, general, for the hint. I '11 act upon 
it." 

This political conference was fruitful in results. 
Acting upon the plans there laid out, McBane trav- 
eled extensively through the state, working up senti- 
ment in favor of the new movement. He possessed a 
certain forceful eloquence ; and white supremacy was 
so obviously the divine intention that he had merely 
to affirm the doctrine in order to secure adherents. 

General Belmont, whose business required him to 
spend much of the winter in Washington and New 
York, lost no opportunity to get the ear of lawmakers, 
editors, and other leaders of national opinion, and to 
impress upon them, with persuasive eloquence, the 
impossibility of maintaining existing conditions, and 
the tremendous blunder which had been made in con- 
ferring the franchise upon the emancipated race. 

Carteret conducted the press campaign, and held 
out to the Republicans of the North the glittering 
hope that, with the elimination of the negro vote, and 
a proper deference to Southern feeling, a strong 
white Republican party might be built up in the New 
South. How well the bait took is a matter of history, 
— but the promised result is still in the future. The 
disfranchisement of the negro has merely changed the 
form of the same old problem. The negro had no 
vote before the rebellion, and few other rights, and 
yet the negro question was, for a century, the pivot 



92 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

of American politics. It plunged the nation into a 
bloody war, and it will trouble the American govern- 
ment and the American conscience until a sustained 
attempt is made to settle it upon principles of justice 
and equity. 

The personal ambitions entertained by the leaders 
of this movement are but slightly involved in this 
story. McBane's aims have been touched upon else- 
where. The general would have accepted the nomi- 
nation for governor of the state, with a vision of a 
senatorship in the future. Carteret hoped to vindi- 
cate the supremacy of his race, and make the state fit 
for his son to live in, and, incidentally, he would not 
refuse any office, worthy of his dignity, which a 
grateful people might thrust upon him. 

So powerful a combination of bigot, self-seeking 
demagogue, and astute politician was fraught with 
grave menace to the peace of the state and the liber- 
ties of the people, — by which is meant the whole 
people, and not any one class, sought to be built up 
at the expense of another. 



X 

DELAMERE PLAYS A TRUMP 

Carteret did not forget what General Belmont 
had said in regard to Tom. The major himself had 
been young, not so very long ago, and was inclined 
toward indulgence for the foibles of youth. A young 
gentleman should have a certain knowledge of life, — 
but there were limits. Clara's future happiness must 
not be imperiled. 

The opportunity to carry out this purpose was not 
long delayed. Old Mr. Delamere wished to sell some 
timber which had been cut at Belleview, and sent 
Tom down to the Chronicle office to leave an adver- 
tisement. The major saw him at the desk, invited 
him into his sanctum, and delivered him a mild lec- 
ture. The major was kind, and talked in a fatherly 
way about the danger of extremes, the beauty of 
moderation, and the value of discretion as a rule of 
conduct. He mentioned collaterally the unblemished 
honor of a fine old family, its contemplated alliance 
with his own, and dwelt upon the sweet simplicity of 
Clara's character. The major was a man of feeling 
and of tact, and could not have put the subject in a 
way less calculated to wound the amour propre of a 
very young man. 

Delamere had turned red with anger while the 
major was speaking. He was impulsive, and an effort 
was required to keep back the retort that sprang once 



94 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

or twice to his lips ; but his conscience was not clear, 
and he could not afford hard words with Clara's guar- 
dian and his grandfather's friend. Clara was rich, 
and the most beautiful girl in town ; they were en- 
gaged ; he loved her as well as he could love anything 
of which he seemed sure ; and he did not mean that 
any one else should have her. The major's mild cen- 
sure disturbed slightly his sense of security ; and 
while the major's manner did not indicate that he 
knew anything definite against him, it would be best 
to let well enough alone. 

" Thank you, major," he said, with well-simulated 
frankness. " I realize that I may have been a little 
careless, more from thoughtlessness than anything 
else ; but my heart is all right, sir, and I am glad 
that my conduct has been brought to your attention, 
for what you have said enables me to see it in a dif- 
ferent light. I will be more careful of my company 
hereafter ; for I love Clara, and mean to try to be 
worthy of her. Do you know whether she will be at 
home this evening?" 

" I have heard nothing to the contrary," replied the 
major warmly. "Call her up by telephone and ask 
— or come up and see. You 're always welcome, my 
boy." 

Upon leaving the office, which was on the second 
floor, Tom met Ellis coming up the stairs. It had 
several times of late occurred to Tom that Ellis had a 
sneaking fondness for Clara. Panoplied in his own 
engagement, Tom had heretofore rather enjoyed the 
idea of a hopeless rival. Ellis was such a solemn 
prig, and took life so seriously, that it was a pleasure 
to see him sit around siffhinff for the unattainable. 
That he should be giving pain to Ellis added a certain 
zest to his own enjoyment. 



DELAMERE PLAYS A TRUMP 95 

But this interview with the major had so disquieted 
him that upon meeting Ellis upon the stairs he was 
struck by a sudden suspicion. He knew that Major 
Carteret seldom went to the Clarendon Club, and that 
he must have got his information from some one else. 
Ellis was a member of the club, and a frequent visitor. 
Who more likely than he to try to poison Clara's 
mind, or the minds of her friends, against her accepted 
lover ? Tom did not think that the world was using 
him well of late ; bad luck had pursued him, in cards 
and other things, and despite his assumption of humil- 
ity, Carteret's lecture had left him in an ugly mood. 
He nodded curtly to Ellis without relaxing the scowl 
that disfigured his handsome features. 

" That 's the damned sneak who 's been giving me 
away," he muttered. " I '11 get even with him yet for 
this." 

Delamere's suspicions with regard to Ellis's feelings 
were not, as we have seen, entirely without foundation. 
Indeed, he had underestimated the strength of this 
rivalry and its chances of success. Ellis had been 
watching Delamere for a year. There had been nothing 
surreptitious about it, but his interest in Clara had led 
him to note things about his favored rival which might 
have escaped the attention of others less concerned. 

Ellis was an excellent judge of character, and had 
formed a very decided opinion of Tom Delamere. 
To Ellis, unbiased by ancestral traditions, biased per- 
haps by jealousy, Tom Delamere was a type of the 
degenerate aristocrat. If, as he had often heard, it 
took three or four generations to make a gentleman, 
and as many more to complete the curve and return to 
the base from which it started, Tom Delamere belonged 
somewhere on the downward slant, with large possibil- 



96 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ities of further decline. Old Mr. Delamere, who might 
be taken as the apex of an ideal aristocratic develop- 
ment, had been distinguished, during his active life, 
as Ellis had learned, for courage and strength of will, 
courtliness of bearing, deference to his superiors, of 
whom there had been few, courtesy to his equals, kind- 
ness and consideration for those less highly favored, 
and above all, a scrupulous sense of honor ; his grand- 
son Tom was merely the shadow without the substance, 
the empty husk without the grain. Of grace he had 
plenty. In manners he could be perfect, when he so 
chose. Courage and strength he had none. Ellis had 
seen this fellow, who boasted of his descent from a 
line of cavaliers, turn pale with fright and spring from 
a buggy to which was harnessed a fractious horse, 
which a negro stable-boy drove fearlessly. A valiant 
carpet-knight, skilled in all parlor exercises, great at 
whist or euchre, a dream of a dancer, unexcelled in 
Cakewalk or " coon " impersonations, for which he was 
in large social demand, Ellis had seen him kick an in- 
offensive negro out of his path and treat a poor-white 
man with scant courtesy. He suspected Delamere of 
cheating at cards, and knew that others entertained 
the same suspicion. For while regular in his own 
habits, — his poverty would not have permitted him 
any considerable extravagance, — Ellis's position as a 
newspaper man kept him in touch with what was going 
on about town. He was a member, proposed by Car- 
teret, of the Clarendon Club, where cards were indulged 
in within reasonable limits, and a certain set were 
known to bet dollars in terms of dimes. 

Delamere was careless, too, about money matters. 
He had a habit of borrowing, right and left, small sums 
which might be conveniently forgotten by the borrower, 



DELAMERE PLAYS A TRUMP 97 

and for which the lender would dislike to ask. Ellis 
had a strain of thrift, derived from a Scotch ancestry, 
and a tenacious memory for financial details. Indeed, 
he had never had so much money that he could lose 
track of it. He never saw Delamere without being 
distinctly conscious that Delamere owed him four dol- 
lars, which he had lent at a time when he could ill 
afford to spare it. It was a prerogative of aristocracy, 
Ellis reflected, to live upon others, and the last privi- 
lege which aristocracy in decay would willingly relin- 
quish. Neither did the aristocratic memory seem able 
to retain the sordid details of a small pecuniary trans- 
action. 

No doubt the knowledge that Delamere was the 
favored lover of Miss Pemberton lent a touch of bitter- 
ness to Ellis's reflections upon his rival. Ellis had no 
grievance against the " aristocracy " of Wellington. 
The " best people " had received him cordially, though 
his father had not been of their caste ; but Ellis hated 
a hypocrite, and despised a coward, and he felt sure 
that Delamere was both. Otherwise he would have 
struggled against his love for Clara Pemberton. His 
passion for her had grown with his appreciation of 
Delamere's un worthiness. As a friend of the family, 
he knew the nature and terms of the engagement, and 
that if the marriage took place at all, it would not be 
for at least a year. This was a long time, — many 
things might happen in a year, especially to a man 
like Tom Delamere. If for any reason Delamere lost 
his chance, Ellis meant to be next in the field. He 
had not made love to Clara, but he had missed no 
opportunity of meeting her and making himself quietly 
and unobtrusively agreeable. 

On the day after this encounter with Delamere on 



98 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the stairs of the Chronicle office, Ellis, while walking 
down Vine Street, met old Mrs. Ochiltree. She was 
seated in her own buggy, which was of ancient build 
and pattern, driven by her colored coachman and man 
of all work. 

" Mr. Ellis," she called in a shrill voice, having 
directed her coachman to draw up at the curb as she 
saw the young man approaching, " come here. I want 
to speak to you." 

Ellis came up to the buggy and stood uncovered 
beside it. 

" People are saying," said Mrs. Ochiltree, " that 
Tom Delamere is drinking hard, and has to be carried 
home intoxicated, two or three times a week, by old 
Mr. Delamere's man Sandy. Is there any truth in the 
story?" 

" My dear Mrs. Ochiltree, I am not Tom Delamere's 
keeper. Sandy could tell you better than I." 

" You are dodging my question, Mr. Ellis. Sandy 
would n't tell me the truth, and I know that you 
would n't lie, — you don't look like a liar. They say 
Tom is gambling scandalously. What do you know 
about that ? " 

"You must excuse me, Mrs. Ochiltree. A great 
deal of what we hear is mere idle gossip, and the truth 
is often grossly exaggerated. I 'm a member of the 
same club with Delamere, and gentlemen who belong to 
the same club are not in the habit of talking about one 
another. As long as a man retains his club member- 
ship, he 's presumed to be a gentleman. I would n't 
say anything against Delamere if I could." 

" You don't need to," replied the old lady, shaking 
her finger at him with a cunning smile. " You are a 
very open young man, Mr. Ellis, and I can read you 



DELAMERE PLAYS A TRUMP 99 

like a book. You are much smarter than you look, 
but you can't fool me. Good-morning." 

Mrs. Ochiltree drove immediately to her niece's, 
where she found Mrs. Carteret and Clara at home. 
Clara was very fond of the baby, and was holding him 
in her arms. He was a fine baby, and bade fair to 
realize the bright hopes built upon him. 

"You hold a baby very naturally, Clara," chuckled 
the old lady. " I suppose you are in training. But 
you ought to talk to Tom. I have just learned from 
Mr. Ellis that Tom is carried home drunk two or 
three times a week, and that he is gambling in the 
most reckless manner imaginable." 

Clara's eyes flashed indignantly. Ere she could 
speak, Mrs. Carteret exclaimed : — 

" Why, Aunt Polly ! did Mr. Ellis say that ? " 

" I got it from Dinah," she replied, " who heard it 
from her husband, who learned it from a waiter at the 
club. And " — 

" Pshaw ! " said Mrs. Carteret, " mere servants' 
gossip." 

"No, it isn't, Olivia. I met Mr. Ellis on the 
street, and asked him point blank, and he didn't 
deny it. He 's a member of the club, and ought to 
know." 

" Well, Aunt Polly, it can't be true. Tom is here 
every other night, and how could he carry on so with- 
out showing the signs of it? and where would he 
get the money ? You know he has only a moderate 
allowance." 

" He may win it at cards, — it 's better to be born 
lucky than rich," returned Mrs. Ochiltree. "Then 
he has expectations, and can get credit. There 's no 
doubt that Tom is going on shamefully." 



100 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Clara's indignation had not yet found vent in 
speech ; Olivia had said all that was necessary, but 
she had been thinking rapidly. Even if all this had 
been true, why should Mr. Ellis have said it ? Or, if 
he had not stated it directly, he had left the inference 
to be drawn. It seemed a most unfair and ungentle- 
manly thing. What motive could Ellis have for such 
an act? 

She was not long in reaching a conclusion which 
was not flattering to Ellis. Mr. Ellis came often 
to the house, and she had enjoyed his society in a 
friendly way. That he had found her pleasant com- 
pany had been very evident. She had never taken 
his attentions seriously, however, or regarded his visits 
as made especially to her, nor had the rest of the 
family treated them from that point of view. Her en- 
gagement to Tom Delamere, though not yet formally 
ratified, was so well understood by the world of Wel- 
lington that Mr. Ellis would scarcely have presumed 
to think of her as anything more than a friend. 

This revelation of her aunt's, however, put a dif- 
ferent face upon his conduct. Certain looks and sighs 
and enigmatical remarks of Ellis, to which she had 
paid but casual attention and attached no particular 
significance, now recurred to her memory with a new 
meaning. He had now evidently tried, in a round- 
about way, to besmirch Tom's character and under- 
mine him in her regard. While loving Tom, she 
had liked Ellis well enough, as a friend ; but he had 
abused the privileges of friendship, and she would 
teach him a needed lesson. 

Nevertheless, Mrs. Ochiltree's story had given 
Clara food for thought. She was uneasily conscious, 
after all, that there might be a grain of truth in what 



DELAMERE PLAYS A TRUMP 101 

had been said, enough, at least, to justify her in warn- 
ing Tom to be careful, lest his enemies should distort 
some amiable weakness into a serious crime. 

She put this view of the case to Tom at their next 
meeting, assuring him, at the same time, of her un- 
bounded faith and confidence. She did not mention 
Ellis's name, lest Tom, in righteous indignation, 
might do something rash, which he might thereafter 
regret. If any subtler or more obscure motive kept 
her silent as to Ellis, she was not aware of it ; for 
Clara's views of life were still in the objective stage, 
and she had not yet fathomed the deepest recesses of 
her own consciousness. 

Delamere had the cunning of weakness. He knew, 
too, better than any one else could know, how much 
truth there was in the rumors concerning him, and 
whether or not they could be verified too easily for 
him to make an indignant denial. After a little rapid 
reflection, he decided upon a different course. 

" Clara," he said with a sigh, taking the hand 
which she generously yielded to soften any suggestion 
of reproach which he may have read into her solici- 
tude, " you are my guardian angel. I do not know, 
of course, who has told you this pack of lies, — for I 
can see that you have heard more than you have told 
me, — but I think I could guess the man they came 
from. I am not perfect, Clara, though I have done 
nothing of which a gentleman should be ashamed. 
There is one sure way to stop the tongue of calumny. 
My home life is not ideal, — grandfather is an old, 
weak man, and the house needs the refining and 
softening influence of a lady's presence. I do not 
love club life ; its ideals are not elevating. With 
you by my side, dearest, I should be preserved from 



102 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

every influence except the purest and the best. Don't 
you think, dearest, that the major might be induced 
to shorten our weary term of waiting ? " 

" Oh, Tom," she demurred blushingly, " I shall be 
young enough at eighteen ; and you are barely twenty- 
one." 

But Tom proved an eloquent pleader, and love a 
still more persuasive advocate. Clara spoke to the 
major the same evening, who looked grave at the sug- 
gestion, and said he would think about it. They 
were both very young ; but where both parties were 
of good family, in good health and good circum- 
stances, an early marriage might not be undesirable. 
Tom was perhaps a little unsettled, but blood would 
tell in the long run, and marriage always exercised a 
steadying influence. 

The only return, therefore, which Ellis received for 
his well-meant effort to ward off Mrs. Ochiltree's em- 
barrassing inquiries was that he did not see Clara 
upon his next visit, which was made one afternoon 
while he was on night duty at the office. In conver- 
sation with Mrs. Carteret he learned that Clara's mar- 
riage had been definitely agreed upon, and the date 
fixed, — it was to take place in about six months. 
Meeting Miss Pemberton on the street the following 
day, he received the slightest of nods. When he 
called again at the house, after a week of misery, she 
treated him with a sarcastic coolness which chilled 
his heart. 

"How have I offended you, Miss Clara?" he de- 
manded desperately, when they were left alone for a 
moment. 

" Offended me ? " she replied, lifting her eyebrows 
with an air of puzzled surprise. " Why, Mr. Ellis ! 



DELAMERE PLAYS A TRUMP 103 

What could have put such a notion into your head ? 
Oh dear, I think I hear Dodie, — I know you '11 ex- 
cuse me, Mr. Ellis, won't you ? Sister Olivia will be 
back in a moment ; and we 're expecting Aunt Polly 
this afternoon, — if you '11 stay awhile she '11 be glad 
to talk to you ! You can tell her all the interesting 
news about your friends ! " 



XI 

THE BABY AND THE BIED 

When Ellis, after this rebuff, had disconsolately 
taken his leave, Clara, much elated at the righteous 
punishment she had inflicted upon the slanderer, ran 
upstairs to the nursery, and, snatching Dodie from 
Mammy Jane's arms, began dancing gayly with him 
round the room. 

" Look a-hyuh, honey," said Mammy Jane, " you 
better be keerful wid dat chile, an' don' drap 'im on 
de flo'. You might let him fall on his head an' break 
his neck. My, my ! but you two does make a pretty 
pictur' ! You '11 be wantin' ole Jane ter come an' 
nuss yo' child'en some er dese days," she chuckled 
unctuously. 

Mammy Jane had been very much disturbed by 
the recent dangers through which little Dodie had 
passed ; and his escape from strangulation, in the 
first place, and then from the knife had impressed 
her as little less than miraculous. She was not certain 
whether this result had been brought about by her 
manipulation of the buried charm, or by the prayers 
which had been offered for the child, but was inclined 
to believe that both had cooperated to avert the 
threatened calamity. The favorable outcome of this 
particular incident had not, however, altered the 
general situation. Prayers and charms, after all, 
were merely temporary things, which must be con- 



THE BABY AND THE BIRD 105 

stantly renewed, and might be forgotten or over- 
looked ; while the mole, on the contrary, neither faded 
nor went away. If its malign influence might for a 
time seem to disappear, it was merely lying dormant, 
like the germs of some deadly disease, awaiting its 
opportunity to strike at an unguarded spot. 

Clara and the baby were laughing in great glee, 
when a mockingbird, perched on the topmost bough of 
a small tree opposite the nursery window, burst sud- 
denly into song, with many a trill and quaver. Clara, 
with the child in her arms, sprang to the open window. 

" Sister Olivia," she cried, turning her face toward 
Mrs. Carteret, who at that moment entered the room, 
" come and look at Dodie." 

The baby was listening intently to the music, mean- 
while gurgling with delight, and reaching his chubby 
hands toward the source of this pleasing sound. It 
seemed as though the mockingbird were aware of his 
appreciative audience, for he ran through the songs of 
a dozen different birds, selecting, with the discrimi- 
nation of a connoisseur and entire confidence in his 
own powers, those which were most difficult and most 
alluring. 

Mrs. Carteret approached the window, followed by 
Mammy Jane, who waddled over to join the admiring 
party. So absorbed were the three women in the 
baby and the bird that neither one of them observed 
a neat top buggy, drawn by a sleek sorrel pony, pass- 
ing slowly along the street before the house. In the 
buggy was seated a lady, and beside her a little boy, 
dressed in a child's sailor suit and a straw hat. The 
lady, with a wistful expression, was looking toward 
the party grouped in the open window. 

Mrs. Carteret, chancing to lower her eyes for an 



106 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

instant, caught the other woman's look directed toward 
her and her child. With a glance of cold aversion 
she turned away from the window. 

Old Mammy Jane had observed this movement, 
and had divined the reason for it. She stood beside 
Clara, watching the retreating buggy. 

" Uhhuh ! " she said to herself, " it 's huh sister 
Janet! She ma'ied a doctuh, an' all dat, an' she 
lives in a big house, an' she 's be'n roun' de worl' an 
de Lawd knows where e'se ; but Mis' 'Livy don' like 
de sight er her, an' never will, ez long ez de sun rises 
an' sets. Dey ce't'nly does favor one anudder, — 
anybody mought 'low dey wuz twins, ef dey did n' 
know better. Well, well ! Fo'ty yeahs ago who 'd 
'a' ever expected ter see a nigger gal ridin' in her own 
buggy ? My, my ! but I don' know, — I don' know ! 
It don' look right, an' it ain' gwine ter las' ! — you 
can't make me b'lieve ! " 

Meantime Janet, stung by Mrs. Carteret's look, — 
the nearest approach she had ever made to a recog- 
nition of her sister's existence, — had turned away 
with hardening face. She had struck her pony sharply 
with the whip, much to the gentle creature's surprise, 
when the little boy, who was still looking back, caught 
his mother's sleeve and exclaimed excitedly : — 

" Look, look, mamma ! The baby, — the baby ! " 

Janet turned instantly, and with a mother's instinct 
gave an involuntary cry of alarm. 

At the moment when Mrs. Carteret had turned 
away from the window, and while Mammy Jane was 
watching Janet, Clara had taken a step forward, 
and was leaning against the window-sill. The baby, 
convulsed with delight, had given a spasmodic spring 
and slipped from Clara's arms. Instinctively the 



THE BABY A&D THE BIRD 107 

young woman gripped the long skirt as it slipped 
through her hands, and held it tenaciously, though 
too frightened for an instant to do more. Mammy 
Jane, ashen with sudden dread, uttered an inarticulate 
scream, but retained self-possession enough to reach 
down and draw up the child, which hung dangerously 
suspended, head downward, over the brick pavement 
below. 

" Oh, Clara, Clara, how could you!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Carteret reproachfully; " you might have killed my 
child ! " 

She had snatched the child from Jane's arms, and 
was holding him closely to her own breast. Struck 
by a sudden thought, she drew near the window and 
looked out. Twice within a few weeks her child had 
been in serious danger, and upon each occasion a 
member of the Miller family had been involved, for 
she had heard of Dr. Miller's presumption in trying 
to force himself where he must have known he would 
be unwelcome. 

Janet was just turning her head away as the buggy 
moved slowly off. Olivia felt a violent wave of antip- 
athy sweep over her toward this baseborn sister who 
had thus thrust herself beneath her eyes. If she had 
not cast her brazen glance toward the window, she 
herself would not have turned away and lost sight of 
her child. To this shameless intrusion, linked with 
Clara's carelessness, had been due the catastrophe, so 
narrowly averted, which might have darkened her own 
life forever. She took to her bed for several days, 
and for a long time was cold toward Clara, and did 
not permit her to touch the child. 

Mammy Jane entertained a theory of her own about 
the accident, by which the blame was placed, in 



108 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

another way, exactly where Mrs. Carteret had laid it. 
Julia's daughter, Janet, had been looking intently 
toward the window just before little Dodie had sprung 
from Clara's arms. Might she not have cast the evil 
eye upon the baby, and sought thereby to draw him 
out of the window ? One would not ordinarily expect 
so young a woman to possess such a power, but she 
might have acquired it, for this very purpose, from 
some more experienced person. By the same reason- 
ing, the mockingbird might have been a familiar of the 
witch, and the two might have conspired to lure the 
infant to destruction. Whether this were so or not, 
the transaction at least wore a peculiar look. There 
was no use telling Mis' 'Livy about it, for she did n't 
believe, or pretended not to believe, in witchcraft and 
conjuration. But one could not be too careful. The 
child was certainly born to be exposed to great dangers, 

— the mole behind the left ear was an unfailing sign, 

— and no precaution should be omitted to counteract 
its baleful influence. 

While adjusting the baby's crib, a few days later, 
Mrs. Carteret found fastened under one of the slats 
a small bag of cotton cloth, about half an inch long 
and tied with a black thread, upon opening which she 
found a few small roots or fibres and a pinch of dried 
and crumpled herbs. It was a good-luck charm 
which Mammy Jane had placed there to ward off the 
threatened evil from the grandchild of her dear old 
mistress. Mrs. Carteret's first impulse was to throw 
the bag into the fire, but on second thoughts she let it 
remain. To remove it would give unnecessary pain to 
the old nurse. Of course these old negro superstitions 
were absurd, — but if the charm did no good, it at 
least would do no harm. 



XII 

ANOTHER SOUTHERN PRODUCT 

One morning shortly after the opening of the hos- 
pital, while Dr. Miller was making his early rounds, 
a new patient walked in with a smile on his face and 
a broken arm hanging limply by his side. Miller 
recognized in him a black giant by the name of Josh 
Green, who for many years had worked on the docks 
for Miller's father, — and simultaneously identified 
him as the dust-begrimed negro who had stolen a ride 
to Wellington on the trucks of a passenger car. 

" Well, Josh," asked the doctor, as he examined the 
fracture, " how did you get this ? Been fighting 



again 



?" 



" No, suh, I don' s'pose you could ha'dly call it a 
fight. One er dem dagoes off'n a Souf American 
boat gimme some er his jaw, an' I give 'im a back 
answer, an' here I is wid a broken arm. He got holt 
er a belayin'-pin befo' I could hit 'im." 

" What became of the other man ? " demanded 
Miller suspiciously. He perceived, from the indiffer- 
ence with which Josh bore the manipulation of the 
fractured limb, that such an accident need not have 
interfered seriously with the use of the remaining arm, 
and he knew that Josh had a reputation for absolute 
fearlessness. 

" Lemme see," said Josh reflectively, " ef I kin 
'member w'at did become er him ! Oh, yes, I 'mem- 



110 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ber now ! Dey tuck him ter de Marine Horspittle in 
de amberlance, 'cause his leg wuz broke, an' I reckon 
somethin' must 'a' accident'ly hit 'im in de jaw, fer he 
wuz scatt'rin' teeth all de way 'long de street. I did n' 
wan' ter kill de man, fer he might have somebody 
dependin' on 'im, an' I knows how dat 'd be ter dem. 
But no man kin call me a damn' low-down nigger and 
keep on enjoyin' good health right along." 

" It was considerate of you to spare his life," said 
Miller dryly, " but you '11 hit the wrong man some 
day. These are bad times for bad negroes. You '11 
get into a quarrel with a white man, and at the end of 
it there '11 be a lynching, or a funeral. You 'd better 
be peaceable and endure a little injustice, rather than 
run the risk of a sudden and violent death." 

" I expec's ter die a vi'lent death in a quarrel wid 
a w'ite man," replied Josh, in a matter-of-fact tone, 
" an' f u'thermo', he 's gwine ter die at the same time, 
er a little befo'. I be'n takin' my own time 'bout 
killin' 'im ; I ain' be'n crowdin' de man, but I '11 be 
ready after a w'ile, an' den he kin look out ! ' ! 

" And I suppose you 're merely keeping in practice 
on these other fellows who come your way. When I 
get your arm dressed, you 'd better leave town till 
that fellow's boat sails ; it may save you the expense 
of a trial and three months in the chain-gang. But 
this talk about killing a man is all nonsense. What 
has any man in this town done to you, that you should 
thirst for his blood ? " 

" No, suh, it ain' nonsense, — it 's straight, solem' 
fac'. I 'm gwine ter kill dat man as sho' as I 'm 
settin' in dis cheer ; an' dey ain' nobody kin say I 
ain' got a right ter kill 'im. Does you 'member de 
Ku-Klux?" 



ANOTHER SOUTHERN PRODUCT 111 

" Yes, but I was a child at the time, and recollect 
very little about them. It is a page of history which 
most people are glad to forget." 

" Yas, suh ; I was a chile, too, but I wuz right in 
it, an' so I 'members mo' erbout it 'n you does. My 
mammy an' daddy lived 'bout ten miles fin here, up 
de river. One night a crowd er w'ite men come ter 
ou' house an' tuck my daddy out an' shot 'im ter 
death, an' skeered my mammy so she ain' be'n herse'f 
f'm dat day ter dis. I wa'n't mo' 'n ten years ole 
at de time, an' w'en my mammy seed de w'ite men 
comin', she tol' me ter run. I hid in de bushes an* 
seen de whole thing, an' it wuz branded on my 
mem'ry, suh, like a red-hot iron bran's de skin. De 
w'ite folks had masks on, but one of 'em fell off, — he 
wuz de boss, he wuz de head man, an' tol' de res' w'at 
ter do, — an' I seen his face. It wuz a easy face ter 
'member ; an' I swo' den, 'way down deep in my 
hea't, little ez I wuz, dat some day er 'nother I 'd kill 
dat man. I ain't never had no doubt erbout it ; it 's 
jus' w'at I 'm livin' fer, an' I know I ain' gwine ter 
die till I 've done it. Some lives fer one thing an' 
some fer another, but dat 's my job. I ain' be'n in no 
has'e, fer I 'm not ole yit, an' dat man is in good 
health. I 'd like ter see a little er de worl' befo' I 
takes chances on leavin' it sudden ; an', mo'over, 
somebody 's got ter take keer er de ole 'onian. But 
her time '11 come some er dese days, an den Ms time '11 
be come — an' prob'ly mine. But I ain' keerin' 'bout 
myse'f : w'en I git thoo wid him, it won' make no 
difPence 'bout me." 

Josh was evidently in dead earnest. Miller re- 
called, very vividly, the expression he had seen twice 
on his patient's face, during the journey to Welling- 



112 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ton. He had often seen Josh's mother, old Aunt 
Milly,— " Silly Milly," the children called her, — wan- 
dering aimlessly about the street, muttering to herself 
incoherently. He had felt a certain childish awe at 
the sight of one of God's creatures who had lost the 
light of reason, and he had always vaguely understood 
that she was the victim of human cruelty, though he 
had dated it farther back into the past. This was his 
first knowledge of the real facts of the case. 

He realized, too, for a moment, the continuity of 
life, how inseparably the present is woven with the 
past, how certainly the future will be but the outcome 
of the present. He had supposed this old wound 
healed. The negroes were not a vindictive people. 
If, swayed by passion or emotion, they sometimes gave 
way to gusts of rage, these were of brief duration. 
Absorbed in the contemplation of their doubtful pre- 
sent and their uncertain future, they gave little 
thought to the past, — it was a dark story, which they 
would willingly forget. He knew the timeworn expla- 
nation that the Ku-Klux movement, in the main, was 
merely an ebullition of boyish spirits, begun to amuse 
young white men by playing upon the fears and su- 
perstitions of ignorant negroes. Here, however, was 
its tragic side, — the old wound still bleeding, the 
fruit of one tragedy, the seed of another. He could 
not approve of Josh's application of the Mosaic law 
of revenge, and yet the incident was not without sig- 
nificance. Here was a negro who could remember an 
injury, who could shape his life to a definite purpose, 
if not a high or holy one. When his race reached the 
point where they would resent a wrong, there was 
hope that they might soon attain the stage where 
they would try, and, if need be, die, to defend a right. 



ANOTHER SOUTHERN PRODUCT 113 

This man, too, had a purpose in life, and was willing 
to die that he might accomplish it. Miller was 
willing to give up his life to a cause. Would he 
be equally willing, he asked himself, to die for it ? 
Miller had no prophetic instinct to tell him how soon 
he would have the opportunity to answer his own 
question. But he could not encourage Josh to carry 
out this dark and revengeful purpose. Every worthy 
consideration required him to dissuade his patient 
from such a desperate course. 

" You had better put away these murderous fan- 
cies, Josh," he said seriously. "The Bible says that 
we should ' forgive our enemies, bless them that curse 
us, and do good to them that despitefully use us.' ' 

" Yas, suh, I 've l'arnt all dat in Sunday-school, an' 
I 've heared de preachers say it time an' time ag'in. 
But it 'pears ter me dat dis fergitfulniss an' fergivniss 
is mighty one-sided. De w'ite folks don' fergive 
nothin' de niggers does. Dey got up de Ku-Klux, 
dey said, on 'count er de kyarpit-baggers. Dey be'n 
talkin' 'bout de kyarpit-baggers ever sence, an' dey 
'pears ter fergot all 'bout de Ku-Klux. But I ain' 
fergot. De niggers is be'n train' ter fergiveniss ; an' 
fer fear dey might fergit how ter fergive, de w'ite 
folks gives 'em somethin' new ev'y now an' den, ter 
practice on. A w'ite man kin do w'at he wants ter a 
nigger, but de minute de nigger gits back at 'im, up 
goes de nigger, an' don' come down tell somebody cuts 
'im down. If a nigger gits a' office, er de race 'pears 
ter be prosperin' too much, de w'ite folks up an' kills 
a few, so dat de res' kin keep on fergivin' an' bein' 
thankful dat dey 're lef ' alive. Don' talk ter me 
'bout dese w'ite folks, — I knows 'em, I does ! Ef a 
nigger wants ter git down on his marrow-bones, an' eat 



114 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

dirt, an' call 'em ' marster,' he 's a good nigger, dere 's 
room fer him. But I ain' no w'ite folks' nigger, I 
ain'. I don' call no man ' marster.' I don' wan' no- 
thin' but w'at I wo'k fer, but I wants all er dat. I 
never moles's no w'ite man, 'less 'n he moles's me f us'. 
But w'en de ole 'oman dies, doctuh, an' I gits a good 
chance at dat w'ite man, — dere ain' no use talkin', suh ! 
— dere 's gwine ter be a mix-up, an' a fune'al, er two 
f une'als — er may be mo', ef anybody is keerliss 
enough to git in de way." 

" Josh," said the doctor, laying a cool hand on the 
other's brow, " you 're feverish, and don't know what 
you 're talking about. I should n't let my mind dwell 
on such things, and you must keep quiet until this 
arm is well, or you may never be able to hit any one 
with it again." 

Miller determined that when Josh got better he 
would talk to him seriously and dissuade him from 
this dangerous design. He had not asked the name 
of Josh's enemy, but the look of murderous hate which 
the dust-begrimed tramp of the railway journey had 
cast at Captain George McBane rendered any such 
question superfluous. McBane was probably deserv- 
ing of any evil fate which might befall him ; but such 
a revenge would do no good, would right no wrong ; 
while every such crime, committed by a colored man, 
would be imputed to the race, which was already stag- 
gering under a load of obloquy because, in the eyes 
of a prejudiced and undiscriminating public, it must 
answer as a whole for the offenses of each separate 
individual. To die in defense of the right was heroic. 
To kill another for revenge was pitifully human and 
weak : " Vengeance is mine, I will repay," saith the 
Lord. 



XIII 

THE CAKEWALK 

Old Mr. Delamere's servant, Sandy Campbell, was 
in deep trouble. 

A party of Northern visitors had been staying for 
several days at the St. James Hotel. The gentlemen 
of the party were concerned in a projected cotton mill, 
while the ladies were much interested in the study of 
social conditions, and especially in the negro problem. 
As soon as their desire for information became known, 
they were taken courteously under the wing of promi- 
nent citizens and their wives, who gave them, at elabo- 
rate luncheons, the Southern white man's views of the 
negro, sighing sentimentally over the disappearance of 
the good old negro of before the war, and gravely 
deploring the degeneracy of his descendants. They en- 
larged upon the amount of money the Southern whites 
had spent for the education of the negro, and shook 
their heads over the inadequate results accruing from 
this unexampled generosity. It was sad, they said, to 
witness this spectacle of a dying race, unable to with- 
stand the competition of a superior type. The severe 
reprisals taken by white people for certain crimes com- 
mitted by negroes were of course not the acts of the 
best people, who deplored them ; but still a certain 
charity should be extended towards those who in the 
intense and righteous anger of the moment should take 
the law into their own hands and deal out rough but 



116 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

still substantial justice ; for no negro was ever lynched 
without incontestable proof of his guilt. In order to 
be perfectly fair, and give their visitors an opportunity 
to see both sides of the question, they accompanied the 
Northern visitors to a colored church where they might 
hear a colored preacher, who had won a jocular popu- 
larity throughout the whole country by an oft-repeated 
sermon intended to demonstrate that the earth was flat 
like a pancake. This celebrated divine could always 
draw a white audience, except on the days when his 
no less distinguished white rival in the field of sen- 
sationalism preached his equally famous sermon to 
prove that hell was exactly one half mile, linear mea- 
sure, from the city limits of Wellington. Whether 
accidentally or not, the Northern visitors had no oppor- 
tunity to meet or talk alone with any colored person in 
the city except the servants at the hotel. When one 
of the party suggested a visit to the colored mission 
school, a Southern friend kindly volunteered to accom- 
pany them. 

The visitors were naturally much impressed by what 
they learned from their courteous hosts, and felt in- 
clined to sympathize with the Southern people, for the 
negro is not counted as a Southerner, except to fix the 
basis of congressional representation. There might of 
course be things to criticise here and there, certain 
customs for which they did not exactly see the neces- 
sity, and which seemed in conflict with the highest 
ideals of liberty : but surely these courteous, soft-spoken 
ladies and gentlemen, entirely familiar with local con- 
ditions, who descanted so earnestly and at times pathet- 
ically upon the grave problems confronting them, must 
know more about it than people in the distant North, 
without their means of information. The negroes who 



THE CAKEWALK 117 

waited on them at the hotel seemed happy enough, and 
the teachers whom they had met at the mission school 
had been well-dressed, well-mannered, and apparently 
content with their position in life. Surely a people 
who made no complaints could not be very much 
oppressed. 

In order to give the visitors, ere they left Welling- 
ton, a pleasing impression of Southern customs, and 
particularly of the joyous, happy-go-lucky disposition 
of the Southern darky and his entire contentment with 
existing conditions, it was decided by the hotel manage- 
ment to treat them, on the last night of their visit, to 
a little diversion, in the shape of a genuine negro cake- 
walk. 

On the afternoon of this same day Tom Delamere 
strolled into the hotel, and soon gravitated to the 
bar, where he was a frequent visitor. Young men of 
leisure spent much of their time around the hotel, and 
no small part of it in the bar. Delamere had been to 
the club, but had avoided the card-room. Time hang- 
ing heavy on his hands, he had sought the hotel in 
the hope that some form of distraction might present 
itself. 

" Have you heard the latest, Mr. Delamere ? " asked 
the bartender, as he mixed a cocktail for his customer. 

" No, Billy ; what is it ? " 

" There 's to be a big Cakewalk upstairs to-night. 
The No'the'n gentlemen an' ladies who are down here 
to see about the new cotton fact'ry want to study the 
nigger some more, and the boss has got up a cakewalk 
for 'em, 'mongst the waiters and chambermaids, with 
a little outside talent." 

" Is it to be public ? " asked Delamere. 

" Oh, no, not generally, but .friends of the house 



118 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

won't be barred out. The clerk '11 fix it for you. 
Ransom, the head waiter, will be floor manager." 

Delamere was struck with a brilliant idea. The 
more he considered it, the brighter it seemed. Another 
cocktail imparted additional brilliancy to the concep- 
tion. He had been trying, after a feeble fashion, to 
keep his promise to Clara, and was really suffering 
from lack of excitement. 

' He left the bar-room, found the head waiter, held 
with him a short conversation, and left in his intelli- 
gent and itching palm a piece of money. 

The cakewalk was a great success. The most bril- 
liant performer was a late arrival, who made his appear- 
ance just as the performance was about to commence. 
The newcomer was dressed strikingly, the conspicuous 
features of his attire being a long blue coat with brass 
buttons and a pair of plaid trousers. He was older, 
too, than the other participants, which made his agility 
the more remarkable. His partner was a new chamber- 
maid, who had just come to town, and whom the head 
waiter introduced to the newcomer upon his arrival. 
The cake was awarded to this couple by a unanimous 
vote. The man presented it to his partner with a 
grandiloquent flourish, and returned thanks in a speech 
which sent the Northern visitors into spasms of delight 
at the quaintness of the darky dialect and the darky 
wit. To cap the climax, the winner danced a buck 
dance with a skill and agility that brought a shower 
of complimentary silver, which he gathered up and 
passed to the head waiter. 

Ellis was off duty for the evening. Not having ven- 
tured to put in an appearance at Carteret's since his 
last rebuff, he found himself burdened with a superflu- 
ity of leisure, from which he essayed to find relief by 



THE CAKEWALK 119 

dropping into the hotel office at about nine o'clock. 
He was invited up to see the Cakewalk, which he rather 
enjoyed, for there was some graceful dancing and pos- 
turing. But the grotesque contortions of one partici- 
pant had struck him as somewhat overdone, even for 
the comical type of negro. He recognized the fellow, 
after a few minutes' scrutiny, as the body-servant of 
old Mr. Delamere. The man's present occupation, or 
choice of diversion, seemed out of keeping with his 
employment as attendant upon an invalid old gentle- 
man, and strangely inconsistent with the gravity and 
decorum which had been so noticeable when this agile 
cake walker had served as butler at Major Carteret's 
table, upon the occasion of the christening dinner. 
There was a vague suggestion of unreality about this 
performance, too, which Ellis did not attempt to ana- 
lyze, but which recurred vividly to his memory upon a 
subsequent occasion. 

Ellis had never pretended to that intimate knowledge 
of negro thought and character by which some of his 
acquaintances claimed the ability to fathom every 
motive of a negro's conduct, and predict in advance 
what any one of the darker race would do under a given 
set of circumstances. He would not have believed that 
a white man could possess two so widely varying phases 
of character ; but as to negroes, they were as yet a 
crude and undeveloped race, and it was not safe to 
make predictions concerning them. No one could tell 
at what moment the thin veneer of civilization might 
peel off and reveal the underlying savage. 

The champion cakewalker, much to the surprise of 
his sable companions, who were about equally swayed 
by admiration and jealousy, disappeared immediately 
after the close of the performance. Any one watching 



120 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

him on his way home through the quiet streets to old 
Mr. Delamere's would have seen him now and then 
shaking with laughter. It had been excellent fun. 
Nevertheless, as he neared home, a certain aspect of 
the affair, hitherto unconsidered, occurred to him, and 
it was in a rather serious frame of mind that he cau- 
tiously entered the house and sought his own room. 

The cakewalk had results which to Sandy were very 
serious. The following week he was summoned before 
the disciplinary committee of his church and charged 
with unchristian conduct, in the following particulars, 
to wit : dancing, and participating in a sinful diver- 
sion called a cakewalk, which was calculated to bring 
the church into disrepute and make it the mockery of 
sinners. 

Sandy protested his innocence vehemently, but in 
vain. The proof was overwhelming. He was positively 
identified by Sister 'Manda Patterson, the hotel cook, 
who had watched the whole performance from the hotel 
corridor for the sole, single, solitary, and only purpose, 
she averred, of seeing how far human wickedness could 
be carried by a professing Christian. The whole thing 
had been shocking and offensive to her, and only a stern 
sense of duty had sustained her in looking on, that she 
might be qualified to bear witness against the offender. 
She had recognized his face, his clothes, his voice, his 
walk — there could be no shadow of doubt that it was 
Brother Sandy. This testimony was confirmed by 
one of the deacons, whose son, a waiter at the hotel, 
had also seen Sandy at the cakewalk. 

Sandy stoutly insisted that he was at home the 
whole evening ; that he had not been near the hotel 
for three months ; that he had never in his life taken 



THE CAKEWALK 121 

part in a Cakewalk, and that he did not know how to 
dance. It was replied that wickedness, like every- 
thing else, must have a beginning ; that dancing was 
an art that could be acquired in secret, and came 
natural to some people. In the face of positive proof, 
Sandy's protestations were of no avail ; he was found 
guilty, and suspended from church fellowship until 
he should have repented and made full confession. 

Sturdily refusing to confess a fault of which he 
claimed to be innocent, Sandy remained in contumacy, 
thereby falling somewhat into disrepute among the 
members of his church, the largest in the city. The 
effect of a bad reputation being subjective as well as 
objective, and poor human nature arguing that one 
may as well have the game as the name, Sandy in- 
sensibly glided into habits of which the church would 
not have approved, though he took care that they 
should not interfere with his duties to Mr. Delamere. 
The consolation thus afforded, however, followed as it 
was by remorse of conscience, did not compensate him 
for the loss of standing in the church, which to him 
was a social club as well as a religious temple. At 
times, in conversation with young Delamere, he would 
lament his hard fate. 

Tom laughed until he cried at the comical idea 
which Sandy's plaint always brought up, of half-a= 
dozen negro preachers sitting in solemn judgment 
upon that Cakewalk, — it had certainly been a good 
cakewalk ! — and sending poor Sandy to spiritual 
Coventry. 

" Cheer up, Sandy, cheer up ! " he would say when 
Sandy seemed most depressed. " Go into my room 
and get yourself a good drink of liquor. The devil's 
church has a bigger congregation than theirs, and we 



122 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

have the consolation of knowing that when we die, 
we '11 meet all our friends on the other side. Brace 
up, Sandy, and be a man, or, if you can't be a man, 
be as near a man as you can ! " 

Hoping to revive his drooping spirits, Sandy too 
often accepted the proffered remedy. 



XIV 

THE MATJNDERINGS OF OLD MRS. OCHILTREE 

When Mrs. Carteret had fully recovered from the 
shock attendant upon the accident at the window, 
where little Dodie had so narrowly escaped death or 
serious injury, she ordered her carriage one afternoon 
and directed the coachman to drive her to Mrs. 
Ochiltree's. 

Mrs. Carteret had discharged her young nurse only 
the day before, and had sent for Mammy Jane, who 
was now recovered from her rheumatism, to stay until 
she could find another girl. The nurse had been 
ordered not to take the child to negroes' houses. Yes- 
terday, in driving past the old homestead of her 
husband's family, now occupied by Dr. Miller and 
his family, Mrs. Carteret had seen her own baby's 
carriage standing in the yard. 

When the nurse returned home, she was immedi- 
ately discharged. She offered some sort of explana- 
tion, to the effect that her sister worked for Mrs. 
Miller, and that some family matter had rendered it 
necessary for her to see her sister. The explanation 
only aggravated the offense : if Mrs. Carteret could 
have overlooked the disobedience, she would by no 
means have retained in her employment a servant 
whose sister worked for the Miller woman. 

Old Mrs. Ochiltree had within a few months begun 
to show signs of breaking up. She was over seventy 



124 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

years old, and had been of late, by various afflictions, 
confined to the house much of the time. More than 
once within the year, Mrs. Carteret had asked her 
aunt to come and live with her ; but Mrs. Ochiltree, 
who would have regarded such a step as an acknow- 
ledgment of weakness, preferred her lonely independ- 
ence. She resided in a small, old-fashioned house, 
standing back in the middle of a garden on a quiet 
street. Two old servants made up her modest house- 
hold. 

This refusal to live with her niece had been lightly 
borne, for Mrs. Ochiltree was a woman of strong in- 
dividuality, whose comments upon her acquaintance, 
present or absent, were marked by a frankness at 
times no less than startling. This characteristic caused 
her to be more or less avoided. Mrs. Ochiltree was 
aware of this sentiment on the part of her acquaint- 
ance, and rather exulted in it. She hated fools. Only 
fools ran away from her, and that because they were 
afraid she would expose their folly. If most people 
were fools, it was no fault of hers, and she was not 
obliged to indulge them by pretending to believe that 
they knew anything. She had once owned consid- 
erable property, but was reticent about her affairs, 
and told no one how much she was worth, though it 
was supposed that she had considerable ready money, 
besides her house and some other real estate. Mrs. 
Carteret was her nearest living relative, though her 
grand-nephew Tom Delamere had been a great favor- 
ite with her. If she did not spare him her tongue- 
lashings, it was nevertheless expected in the family 
that she would leave him something handsome in her 
will. 

Mrs. Ochiltree had shared in the general rejoicing 



MAUNDERINGS OF OLD MRS. OCHILTREE 125 

upon the advent o£ the Carteret baby. She had been 
one of his godmothers, and had hinted at certain in- 
tentions held by her concerning him. During Mammy 
Jane's administration she had tried the old nurse's 
patience more or less by her dictatorial interference. 
Since her partial confinement to the house, she had 
gone, when her health and the weather would permit, 
to see the child, and at other times had insisted that 
it be sent to her in charge of the nurse at least every 
other day. 

Mrs. Ochiltree's faculties had shared insensibly in 
the decline of her health. This weakness manifested 
itself by fits of absent-mindedness, in which she would 
seemingly lose connection with the present, and live 
over again, in imagination, the earlier years of her 
life. She had buried two husbands, had tried in 
vain to secure a third, and had never borne any chil- 
dren. Long ago she had petrified into a character 
which nothing under heaven could change, and which, 
if death is to take us as it finds us, and the future 
life to keep us as it takes us, promised anything but 
eternal felicity to those with whom she might associate 
after this life. Torn Delamere had been heard to say, 
profanely, that if his Aunt Polly went to heaven, he 
would let his mansion in the skies on a long lease, at 
a low figure. 

When the carriage drove up with Mrs. Carteret, 
her aunt was seated on the little front piazza, with 
her wrinkled hands folded in her lap, dozing the after- 
noon away in fitful slumber. 

" Tie the horse, William," said Mrs. Carteret, "and 
then go in and wake Aunt Polly, and tell her I want 
her to come and drive with me." 

Mrs. Ochiltree had not observed her niece's ap- 



126 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

proach, nor did she look up when William drew near. 
Her eyes were closed, and she would let her head sink 
slowly forward, recovering it now and then with a 
spasmodic jerk. 

" Colonel Ochiltree,'' she muttered, " was shot at 
the battle of Culpepper Court House, and left me a 
widow for the second time. But I would not have 
married any man on earth after him." 

" Mis' Ochiltree ! " cried William, raising his voice, 
" oh, Mis' Ochiltree ! " 

" If I had found a man, — a real man, — I might 
have married again. I did not care for weaklings. 
I could have married John Delamere if I had wanted 
him. But pshaw ! I could have wound him round " — 

" Go round to the kitchen, William," interrupted 
Mrs. Carteret impatiently, " and tell Aunt Dinah to 
come and wake her up." 

William returned in a few moments with a fat, 
comfortable looking black woman, who curtsied to 
Mrs. Carteret at the gate, and then going up to her 
mistress seized her by the shoulder and shook her 
vigorously. 

" Wake up dere, Mis' Polly," she screamed, as 
harshly as her mellow voice would permit. " Mis' 
'Livy wants you ter go drivin' wid 'er ! " 

" Dinah," exclaimed the old lady, sitting suddenly 
upright with a defiant assumption of wakefulness, 
" why do you take so long to come when I call ? 
Bring me my bonnet and shawl. Don't you see my 
niece waiting for me at the gate ? " 

" Hyuh dey is, hyuh dey is ! " returned Dinah, 
producing the bonnet and shawl, and assisting Mrs. 
Ochiltree to put them on. 

Leaning on William's arm, the old lady went 



MAUNDERINGS OF OLD MRS. OCHILTREE 127 

slowly down the walk, and was handed to the rear 
seat with Mrs. Carteret. 

" How 's the baby to-day, Olivia, and why did n't 
you bring him ? " 

" He has a cold to-day, and is a little hoarse," re- 
plied Mrs. Carteret, " so I thought it best not to bring 
him out. Drive out the Weldon road, William, and 
back by Pine Street." 

The drive led past an eminence crowned by a hand- 
some brick building of modern construction, evidently 
an institution of some kind, surrounded on three sides 
by a grove of venerable oaks. 

" Hugh Poindexter," Mrs. Ochiltree exclaimed ex- 
plosively, after a considerable silence, " has been build- 
ing a new house, in place of the old family mansion 
burned during the war." 

" It is n't Mr. Poindexter's house, Aunt Polly, 
That is the new colored hospital built by the colored 
doctor." 

" The new colored hospital, indeed, and the colored 
doctor ! Before the war the negroes were all healthy, 
and when they got sick we took care of them our- 
selves ! Hugh Poindexter has sold the graves of his 
ancestors to a negro, — I should have starved first ! " 

" He had his grandfather's grave opened, and there 
was nothing to remove, except a few bits of heart-pine 
from the coffin. All the rest had crumbled into 
dust." 

" And he sold the dust to a negro ! The world is 
upside down." 

" He had the tombstone transferred to the white 
cemetery, Aunt Polly, and he has moved away." 

" Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. 
When I die, if you outlive me, Olivia, which is not 



128 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

likely, I shall leave my house and land to this child ! 
He is a Carteret, — he would never sell them to a 
negro. I can't trust Tom Delamere, I 'm afraid." 

The carriage had skirted the hill, passing to the 
rear of the new building. 

" Turn to the right, William," ordered Mrs. Car- 
teret, addressing the coachman, " and come back past 
the other side of the hospital." 

A turn to the right into another road soon brought 
them to the front of the building, which stood slightly 
back from the street, with no intervening fence or 
inclosure. A sorrel pony in a light buggy was fastened 
to a hitching-post near the entrance. As they drove 
past, a lady came out of the front door and descended 
the steps, holding by the hand a very pretty child 
about six years old. 

" Who is that woman, Olivia ? " asked Mrs. Ochil- 
tree abruptly, with signs of agitation. 

The lady coming down the steps darted at the ap- 
proaching carriage a look which lingered involun- 
tarily. 

Mrs. Carteret, perceiving this glance, turned away 
coldly. 

With a sudden hardening of her own features the 
other woman lifted the little boy into the buggy and 
drove sharply away in the direction opposite to that 
taken by Mrs. Carteret's carriage. 

" Who is that woman, Olivia ? " repeated Mrs. 
Ochiltree, with marked emotion. 

" I have not the honor of her acquaintance," re- 
turned Mrs. Carteret sharply. " Drive faster, Wil- 
liam." 

" I want to know who that woman is," persisted 
Mrs. Ochiltree querulously. " William," she cried 



MAUNDERINGS OF OLD MRS. OCHILTREE 129 

shrilly, poking the coachman in the back with the end 
of her cane, " who is that woman ? " 

" Dat 's Mis' Miller, ma'am," returned the coach- 
man, touching his hat ; " Doctuh Miller's wife." 

" What was her mother's name ? " 

"Her mother's name wuz Julia Brown. She 's be'n 
dead dese twenty years er mo'. Why, you knowed 
Julia, Mis' Polly ! — she used ter b'long ter yo' own 
father befo' de wah ; an' after de wah she kep' house 
fer " — 

" Look to your horses, William ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Carteret sharply. 

" It 's that hussy's child," said Mrs. Ochiltree, turn- 
ing to her niece with great excitement. " When your 
father died, I turned the mother and the child out 
into the street. The mother died and went to — the 
place provided for such as she. If I had n't been just 
in time, Olivia, they would have turned you out. I 
saved the property for you and your son ! You can 
thank me for it all ! " 

" Hush, Aunt Polly, for goodness' sake ! William 
will hear you. Tell me about it when you get home." 

Mrs. Ochiltree was silent, except for a few inco- 
herent mumblings. What she might say, what dis- 
tressing family secret she might repeat in William's 
hearing, should she take another talkative turn, was 
beyond conjecture. 

Olivia looked anxiously around for something to 
distract her aunt's attention, and caught sight of a 
colored man, dressed in sober gray, who was coming 
toward the carriage. 

" There 's Mr. Delamere's Sandy ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Carteret, touching her aunt on the arm. " I wonder 
how his master is ? Sandy, oh, Sandy ! " 



130 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Sandy approached the carriage, lifting his hat with 
a slight exaggeration of Chesterfieldian elegance. 
Sandy, no less than his master, was a survival of an 
interesting type. He had inherited the feudal defer- 
ence for his superiors in position, joined to a certain 
self-respect which saved him from sycophancy. His 
manners had been formed upon those of old Mr. Dela- 
mere, and were not a bad imitation ; for in the man, 
as in the master, they were the harmonious reflection 
of a mental state. 

" How is Mr. Delamere, Sandy ? " asked Mrs. Car- 
teret, acknowledging Sandy's salutation with a nod 
and a smile. 

" He ain't ez peart ez he has be'n, ma'am," replied 
Sandy, " but he 's doin' tol'able well. De doctuh say 
he 's good fer a dozen years yit, ef he '11 jes' take good 
keer of hisse'f an' keep f 'm gittin' excited ; fer sence 
dat secon' stroke, excitement is dange'ous fer 'im." 

" I 'in sure you take the best care of him," returned 
Mrs. Carteret kindly. 

"You can't do anything for him, Sandy," inter- 
posed old Mrs. Ochiltree, shaking her head slowly to 
emphasize her dissent. " All the doctors in creation 
could n't keep him alive another year. I shall outlive 
him by twenty years, though we are not far from the 
same age." 

" Lawd, ma'am ! " exclaimed Sandy, lifting his 
hands in affected amazement, — his study of gentle 
manners had been more than superficial, — " whoever 
would 'a' s'picion' dat you an' Mars John wuz nigh 
de same age ? I 'd 'a' 'lowed you wuz ten years 
younger 'n him, easy, ef you wuz a day ! ' 

" Give my compliments to the poor old gentleman," 
returned Mrs. Ochiltree, with a simper of senile van- 



MAUNDERINGS OF OLD MRS. OCHILTREE 131 

ity, though her back was weakening under the strain 
of the effort to sit erect that she might maintain this 
illusion of comparative youthf ulness. " Bring him to 
see me some day when he is able to walk." 

"Yas'm, I will," rejoined Sandy. "He's gwine 
out ter Belleview nex' week, fer ter stay a mont' er 
so, but I '11 fetch him 'roun' w'en he comes back. I '11 
tell 'im dat you ladies 'quired fer 'im." 

Sandy made another deep bow, and held his hat in 
his hand until the carriage had moved away. He had 
not condescended to notice the coachman at all, who 
was one of the young negroes of the new generation ; 
while Sandy regarded himself as belonging to the 
quality, and seldom stooped to notice those beneath 
him. It would not have been becoming in him, 
either, while conversing with white ladies, to have 
noticed a colored servant. Moreover, the coachman 
was a Baptist, while Sandy was a Methodist, though 
under a cloud, and considered a Methodist in poor 
standing as better than a Baptist of any degree of 
sanctity. 

" Lawd, Lawd ! " chuckled Sandy, after the car- 
riage had departed, " I never seed nothin' lack de 
way dat ole lady do keep up her temper ! Wid one 
foot in de grave, an' de other hov'rin' on de edge, she 
talks 'bout my ole marster lack he wuz in his secon' 
chil'hood. But I 'm jes' willin' ter bet dat he '11 out- 
las' her ! She ain't half de woman she wuz dat night 
I waited on de table at de christenin' pa'ty, w'en she 
'lowed she wuz n' feared er no man livin'." 



XV 

MRS. CARTERET SEEKS AN EXPLANATION 

As a stone dropped into a pool of water sets in 
motion a series of concentric circles which disturb the 
whole mass in varying degree, so Mrs - . Ochiltree's 
enigmatical remark had started in her niece's mind 
a disturbing train of thought. Had her words, Mrs. 
Carteret asked herself, any serious meaning, or were 
they the mere empty babblings of a clouded intellect? 

" William," she said to the coachman when they 
reached Mrs. Ochiltree's house, " you may tie the 
horse and help us out. I shall be here a little while." 

William helped the ladies down, assisted Mrs. 
Ochiltree into the house, and then went round to the 
kitchen. Dinah was an excellent hand at potato-pone 
and other culinary delicacies dear to the Southern 
heart, and William was a welcome visitor in her 
domain. 

" Now, Aunt Polly," said Mrs. Carteret resolutely, 
as soon as they were alone, " I want to know what 
you meant by what you said about my father and 
Julia, and this — this child of hers ? " 

The old woman smiled cunningly, but her expres- 
sion soon changed to one more grave. 

" Why do you want to know ? " she asked sus- 
piciously. " You 've got the land, the houses, and the 
money. You 've nothing to complain of. Enjoy 
yourself, and be thankful ! " 



MRS. CARTERET SEEKS AN EXPLANATION 133 

" I 'm thankful to God," returned Olivia, " for all 
his good gifts, — and He has blessed me abundantly, 
— but why should I be thankful to you for the 
property my father left me ? " 

" Why should you be thankful to me ? " rejoined 
Mrs. Ochiltree with querulous indignation. " You 'd 
better ask why should rit you be thankful to me. 
What have I not done for you? " 

" Yes, Aunt Polly, I know you 've done a great 
deal. You reared me in your own house when I had 
been cast out of my father's ; you have been a second 
mother to me, and I am very grateful, — you can 
never say that I have not shown my gratitude. But 
if you have done anything else for me, I wish to know 
it. Why should I thank you for my inheritance? " 

" Why should you thank me ? Well, because I 
drove that woman and her brat away." 

" But she had no right to stay, Aunt Polly, after 
father died. Of course she had no moral right before, 
but it was his house, and he could keep her there if 
he chose. But after his death she surely had no 
right." 

u Perhaps not so surely as you think, — if she had 
not been a negro. Had she been white, there might 
have been a difference. When I told her to go, she 
said " — 

44 What did she say, Aunt Polly," demanded Olivia 
eagerly. 

It seemed for a moment as though Mrs. Ochiltree 
would speak no further : but her once strong will, 
now weakened by her bodily infirmities, yielded to the 
influence of her niece's imperious demand. 

44 1 '11 tell you the whole story," she said, 44 and then 
you '11 know what I did for you and yours." 



134 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Mrs. Ochiltree's eyes assumed an introspective ex- 
pression, and her story, as it advanced, became as 
keenly dramatic as though memory had thrown aside 
the veil of intervening years and carried her back 
directly to the events which she now described. 

" Your father," she said, " while living with that 
woman, left home one morning the picture of health. 
Five minutes later he tottered into the house groaning 
with pain, stricken unto death by the hand of a just 
God, as a punishment for his sins." 

Olivia gave a start of indignation, but restrained 
herself. 

" I was at once informed of what had happened, 
for I had means of knowing all that took place in the 
household. Old Jane — she was younger then — 
had come with you to my house ; but her daughter 
remained, and through her I learned all that went on. 

" I hastened immediately to the house, entered 
without knocking, and approached Mr. Merkell's bed- 
room, which was on the lower floor and opened into 
the hall. The door was ajar, and as I stood there 
for a moment I heard your father's voice. 

" ' Listen, Julia,' he was saying. 4 1 shall not live 
until the doctor comes. But I wish you to know, 
dear Julia ! ' — he called her ' dear Julia ! ' — ' before 
I die, that I have kept my promise. You did me one 
great service, Julia, — you saved me from Polly 
Ochiltree ! ' Yes, Olivia, that is what he said ! ' You 
have served me faithfully and well, and I owe you a 
great deal, which I have tried to pay.' 

" ' Oh, Mr. Merkell, dear Mr. Merkell,' cried the 
hypocritical hussy, falling to her knees by his bedside, 
and shedding her crocodile tears, ' you owe me no- 
thing. You have done more for me than I could ever 



MRS. CARTERET SEEKS AN EXPLANATION 135 

repay. You will not die and leave me, — no, no, it 
cannot be ! ' 

" ' Yes, I am going to die, — I am dying now, Julia. 
But listen, — compose yourself and listen, for this is 
a more important matter. Take the keys from under 
my pillow, open the desk in the next room, look in the 
second drawer on the right, and you will find an en- 
velope containing three papers : one of them is yours, 
one is the paper I promised to make, and the third 
is a letter which I wrote last night. As soon as the 
breath has left my body, deliver the envelope to the 
address indorsed upon it. Do not delay one moment, 
or you may live to regret it. Say nothing until you 
have delivered the package, and then be guided by 
the advice which you receive, — it will come from a 
friend of mine who will not see you wronged.' 

" I slipped away from the door without making my 
presence known and entered, by a door from the hall, 
the room adjoining the one where Mr. Merkell lay. 
A moment later there was a loud scream. Returning 
quickly to the hall, I entered Mr. Merkell's room as 
though just arrived. 

" ' How is Mr. Merkell ? ' I demanded, as I crossed 
the threshold. 

" ' He is dead,' sobbed the woman, without lifting 
her head, — she had fallen on her knees by the bedside. 
She had good cause to weep, for my time had come. 

" * Get up,' I said. * You have no right here. You 
pollute Mr. Merkell's dead body by your touch. 
Leave the house immediately, — your day is over ! ' 

" ' I will not ! ' she cried, rising to her feet and 
facing me with brazen-faced impudence. ' I have a 
right to stay, — he has given me the right ! ' 

" ' Ha, ha ! ' I laughed. ' Mr. Merkell is dead, and 



136 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

I am mistress here henceforth. Go, and go at once, 
— do you hear ? ' 

" i I hear, but I shall not heed. I can prove my 
rights ! I shall not leave ! ' 

" ' Very well,' I replied, c we shall see. The law 
will decide.' 

"I left the room, but did not leave the house. On 
the contrary, I concealed myself where I could see 
what took place in the room adjoining the death- 
chamber. 

" She entered the room a moment later, with her 
child on one arm and the keys in the other hand. 
Placing the child on the floor, she put the key in the 
lock, and seemed surprised to find the desk already 
unfastened. She opened the desk, picked up a roll of 
money and a ladies' watch, which first caught her eye, 
and was reaching toward the drawer upon the right, 
when I interrupted her : — 

" 4 Well, thief, are you trying to strip the house 
before you leave it ? ' 

" She gave an involuntary cry, clasped one hand 
to her bosom and with the other caught up her child, 
and stood like a wild beast at bay. 

" ' I am not a thief,' she panted. ' The things are 
mine ! ' 

" * You lie,' I replied. ' You have no right to 
them, — no more right than you have to remain in 
this house ! ' 

" ' I have a right,' she persisted, ' and I can prove 
it!' 

" She turned toward the desk, seized the drawer, 
and drew it open. Never shall I forget her look, — 
never shall I forget that moment ; it was the happiest 
of my life. The drawer was empty ! 



MRS. CARTERET SEEKS AN EXPLANATION 137 

" Pale as death she turned and faced me. 

" 4 The papers ! ' she shrieked, 4 the papers ! You 
have stolen them ! ' 

" ; Papers ? ' I laughed, ' what papers ? Do you 
take me for a thief, like yourself ? ' 

" ' There were papers here,' she cried, ' only a 
minute since. They are mine, — give them back to 
me!' 

" i Listen, woman,' I said sternly, ' you are lying — 
or dreaming. My brother-in-law's papers are doubt- 
less in his safe at his office, where they ought to be. 
As for the rest, — you are a thief.' 

" 4 1 am not,' she screamed ; 4 1 am his wife. He 
married me, and the papers that were in the desk will 
prove it.' 

" 4 Listen,' I exclaimed, when she had finished, — 
' listen carefully, and take heed to what I say. You 
are a liar. You have no proofs, — there never were 
any proofs of what you say, because it never happened, 
— it is absurd upon the face of it. Not one person in 
Wellington would believe it. Why should he marry 
you ? He did not need to ! You are merely lying, — 
you are not even self -deceived. If he had really mar- 
ried you, you would have made it known long ago. 
That you did not is proof that your story is false.' 

" She was hit so hard that she trembled and sank 
into a chair. But I had no mercy — she had saved 
your father from me — ' dear Julia,' indeed ! 

" ' Stand up,' I ordered. 4 Do not dare to sit down 
in my presence. I have you on the hip, my lady, and 
will teach you your place.' 

" She struggled to her feet, and stood supporting 
herself with one hand on the chair. I could have 



138 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

killed her, Olivia ! She had been my father's slave ; 
if it had been before the war, I would have had her 
whipped to death. 

" ' You are a thief,' I said, ' and of that there are 
proofs. I have caught you in the act. The watch in 
your bosom is my own, the money belongs to Mr. 
Merkell's estate, which belongs to my niece, his daugh- 
ter Olivia. I saw you steal them. My word is worth 
yours a hundred times over, for I am a lady, and you 
are — what? And now hear me : if ever you breathe 
to a living soul one word of this preposterous story, I 
will charge you with the theft, and have you sent to 
the penitentiary. Your child will be taken from you, 
and you shall never see it again. I will give you now 
just ten minutes to take your brat and your rags out 
of this house forever. But before you go, put down 
your plunder there upon the desk ! ' 

" She laid down the money and the watch, and a 
few minutes later left the house with the child in her 
arms. 

" And now, Olivia, you know how I saved your 
estate, and why you should be grateful to me." 

Olivia had listened to her aunt's story with intense 
interest. Having perceived the old woman's mood, 
and fearful lest any interruption might break the flow 
of her narrative, she had with an effort kept back the 
one question which had been hovering upon her lips, 
but which could now no longer be withheld. 

" What became of the papers, Aunt Polly ? " 

" Ha, ha ! " chuckled Mrs. Ochiltree with a cunning 
look, " did I not tell you that she found no papers ? " 

A change had come over Mrs. Ochiltree's face, 
marking the reaction from her burst of energy. Her 



MRS. CARTERET SEEKS AN EXPLANATION 139 

eyes were half closed, and she was muttering incoher- 
ently. Olivia made some slight effort to arouse her, 
but in vain, and realizing the futility of any further 
attempt to extract information from her aunt at this 
time, she called William and drove homeward. 



XVI 

ELLIS TAKES A THICK 

Late one afternoon a handsome trap, drawn by two 
spirited bays, drove np to Carteret's gate. Three 
places were taken by Mrs. Carteret, Clara, and the 
major, leaving the fourth seat vacant. 

" I 've asked Ellis to drive out with us," said the 
major, as he took the lines from the colored man who 
had the trap in charge. " We '11 go by the office and 
pick him up." 

Clara frowned, but perceiving Mrs. Carteret's eye 
fixed upon her, restrained any further expression of 
annoyance. 

The major's liking for Ellis had increased within the 
year. The young man was not only a good journalist, 
but possessed sufficient cleverness and tact to make him 
excellent company. The major was fond of argument, 
but extremely tenacious of his own opinions. Ellis 
handled the foils of discussion with just the requisite 
skill to draw out the major, permitting himself to be 
vanquished, not too easily, but, as it were, inevitably, 
by the major's incontrovertible arguments. 

Olivia had long suspected Ellis of feeling a more 
than friendly interest in Clara. Herself partial to 
Tom, she had more than once thought it hardly fair to 
Delamere, or even to Clara, who was young and im- 
pressionable, to have another young man constantly 
about the house. True, there had seemed to be no 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 141 

great danger, for Ellis had neither the family nor the 
means to make him a suitable match for the major's 
sister ; nor had Clara made any secret of her dislike 
for Ellis, or of her resentment for his supposed depre- 
ciation of Delamere. Mrs. Carteret was inclined to a 
more just and reasonable view of Ellis's conduct in this 
matter, but nevertheless did not deem it wise to unde- 
ceive Clara. Dislike was a stout barrier, which remorse 
might have broken down. The major, absorbed in 
schemes of empire and dreams of his child's future, 
had not become cognizant of the affair. His wife, out 
of friendship for Tom, had refrained from mentioning 
it ; while the major, with a delicate regard for Clara's 
feelings, had said nothing at home in regard to his 
interview with her lover. 

At the Chronicle office Ellis took the front seat 
beside the major. After leaving the city pavements, 
they bowled along merrily over an excellent toll-road, 
built of oyster shells from the neighboring sound, 
stopping at intervals to pay toll to the gate-keepers, 
most of whom were white women with tallow complex- 
ions and snuff-stained lips, — the traditional " poor- 
white." For part of the way the road was bordered 
with a growth of scrub oak and pine, interspersed with 
stretches of cleared land, white with the opening cotton 
or yellow with ripening corn. To the right, along 
the distant river-bank, were visible here and there 
groups of turpentine pines, though most of this growth 
had for some years been exhausted. Twenty years 
before, Wellington had been the world's greatest 
shipping port for naval stores. But as the turpen- 
tine industry had moved southward, leaving a trail 
of devastated forests in its rear, the city had fallen 
to a poor fifth or sixth place in this trade, relying 



142 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

now almost entirely upon cotton for its export busi- 
ness. 

Occasionally our party passed a person, or a group 
of persons, — mostly negroes approximating the pure 
type, for those of lighter color grew noticeably scarcer 
as the town was left behind. Now and then one of 
these would salute the party respectfully, while others 
glanced at them indifferently or turned away. There 
would have seemed, to a stranger, a lack of spontane- 
ous friendliness between the people of these two races, 
as though each felt that it had no part or lot in the 
other's life. At one point the carriage drew near a 
party of colored folks who were laughing and jesting 
among themselves with great glee. Paying no atten- 
tion to the white people, they continued to laugh and 
shout boisterously as the carriage swept by. 

Major Carteret's countenance wore an angry look. 

" The negroes around this town are becoming abso- 
lutely insufferable," he averred. M They are sadly in 
need of a lesson in manners." 

Half an hour later they neared another group, who 
were also making merry. As the carriage approached, 
they became mute and silent as the grave until the 
major's party had passed. 

" The negroes are a sullen race," remarked the 
major thoughtfully. " They will learn their lesson in 
a rude school, and perhaps much sooner than they 
dream. By the way," he added, turning to the ladies, 
" what was the arrangement with Tom ? Was he to 
come out this evening?" 

"He came out early in the afternoon," replied 
Clara, " to go a-fishing. He is to join us at the 
hotel." 

After an hour's drive they reached the hotel, in 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 143 

front of which stretched the beach, white and invit- 
ing, along the shallow sound. Mrs. Carteret and 
Clara found seats on the veranda. Having turned the 
trap over to a hostler, the major joined a group of 
gentlemen, among whom was General Belmont, and 
was soon deep in the discussion of the standing prob- 
lem of how best to keep the negroes down. 

Ellis remained by the ladies. Clara seemed rest- 
less and ill at ease. Half an hour elapsed and Dela- 
mere had not appeared. 

" I wonder where Tom is," said Mrs. Carteret. 

" I guess he has n't come in yet from fishing," said 
Clara. " I wish he would come. It 's lonesome here. 
Mr. Ellis, would you mind looking about the hotel 
and seeing if there 's any one here that we know? " 

For Ellis the party was already one too large. He 
had accepted this invitation eagerly, hoping to make 
friends with Clara during the evening. He had never 
been able to learn definitely the reason of her cold- 
ness, but had dated it from his meeting with old Mrs. 
Ochiltree, with which he felt it was obscurely con- 
nected. He had noticed Delamere's scowling look, 
too, at their last meeting. Clara's injustice, what- 
ever its cause, he felt keenly. To Delamere's scowl 
he had paid little attention, — he despised Tom so 
much that, but for his engagement to Clara, he would 
have held his opinions in utter contempt. 

He had even wished that Clara might make some 
charge against him, — he would have preferred that 
to her attitude of studied indifference, the only re- 
deeming feature about which was that it was studied, 
showing that she, at least, had him in mind. The 
next best thing, he reasoned, to having a woman love 
you, is to have her dislike you violently, — the main 



144 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

point is that you should be kept in mind, and made 
the subject of strong emotions. He thought of the 
story of Hall Caine's, where the woman, after years 
of persecution at the hands of an unwelcome suitor, 
is on the point of yielding, out of sheer irresistible 
admiration for the man's strength and persistency, 
when the lover, unaware of his victory and despairing 
of success, seizes her in his arms and, springing into 
the sea, finds a watery grave for both. The analogy 
of this case with his own was, of course, not strong. 
He did not anticipate any tragedy in their relations ; 
but he was glad to be thought of upon almost any 
terms. He would not have done a mean thing to 
make her think of him ; but if she did so because of 
a misconception, which he was given no opportunity 
to .clear up, while at the same time his conscience 
absolved him from evil and gave him the compensat- 
ing glow of martyrdom, it was at least better than 
nothing. 

He would, of course, have preferred to be upon a 
different footing. It had been a pleasure to have her 
speak to him during the drive, — they had exchanged 
a few trivial remarks in the general conversation. It 
was a greater pleasure to have her ask a favor of him, 
— a pleasure which, in this instance, was partly offset 
when he interpreted her request to mean that he was 
to look for Tom Delamere. He accepted the situa- 
tion gracefully, however, and left the ladies alone. 

Knowing Delamere's habits, he first went directly 
to the bar-room, — the atmosphere would be congenial, 
even if he were not drinking. Delamere was not 
there. Stepping next into the office, he asked the 
clerk if young Mr. Delamere had been at the hotel. 

" Yes, sir," returned the man at the desk, " he was 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 145 

here at luncheon, and then went out fishing in a boat 
with several other gentlemen. I think they came 
back about three o'clock. I '11 find out for you." 

He rang the bell, to which a colored boy responded. 

" Front," said the clerk, " see if young Mr. Dela- 
mere 's upstairs. Look in 255 or 256, and let me 
know at once." 

The bell-boy returned in a moment. 

" Yas, suh," he reported, with a suppressed grin, 
" he 's in 256, suh. De do' was open, an' I seed 'im 
from de hall, suh." 

" I wish you 'd go up and tell him," said Ellis, 
" that — What are you grinning about ? " he asked 
suddenly, noticing the waiter's expression. 

" Nothin', suh, nothin' at all, suh," responded the 
negro, lapsing into the stolidity of a wooden Indian. 
" What shall I tell Mr. Delamere, suh? " 

" Tell him," resumed Ellis, still watching the boy 
suspiciously, — " no, I '11 tell him myself." 

He ascended the broad stair to the second floor. 
There was an upper balcony and a parlor, with a 
piano for the musically inclined. To reach these one 
had to pass along the hall upon which the room men- 
tioned by the bell-boy opened. Ellis was quite familiar 
with the hotel. He could imagine circumstances under 
which he would not care to speak to Delamere ; he 
would merely pass through the hall and glance into 
the room casually, as any one else might do, and see 
what the darky downstairs might have meant by his 
impudence. 

It required but a moment to reach the room. The 
door was not wide open, but far enough ajar for him 
to see what was going on within. 

Two young men, members of the fast set at the 



146 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Clarendon Club, were playing cards at a small table, 
near which stood another, decorated with an array of 
empty bottles and glasses. Sprawling on a lounge, 
with flushed face and disheveled hair, his collar un- 
fastened, his vest buttoned awry, lay Tom Delamere, 
breathing stertorously, in what seemed a drunken 
sleep. Lest there should be any doubt of the cause 
of his condition, the fingers of his right hand had re- 
mained clasped mechanically around the neck of a 
bottle which lay across his bosom. 

Ellis turned away in disgust, and went slowly back 
to the ladies. 

" There seems to be no one here yet," he reported. 
" We came a little early for the evening crowd. The 
clerk says Tom Delamere was here to luncheon, but 
he has n't seen him for several hours." 

" He 's not a very gallant cavalier," said Mrs. 
Carteret severely. " He ought to have been waiting 
for us." 

Clara was clearly disappointed, and made no effort 
to conceal her displeasure, leaving Ellis in doubt as 
to whether or not he were its object. Perhaps she 
suspected him of not having made a very thorough 
search. Her next remark might have borne such a 
construction. 

" Sister Olivia," she said pettishly, " let 's go up to 
the parlor. I can play the piano anyway, if there 's 
no one to talk to." 

" I find it very comfortable here, Clara," replied 
her sister placidly. " Mr. Ellis will go with you. 
You '11 probably find some one in the parlor, or 
they '11 come when you begin to play." 

Clara's expression was not cordial, but she rose as 
if to go. Ellis was in a quandary. If she went 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 147 

through the hall, the chances were at least even that 

she would see Delamere. He did not care a rap for 

Delamere, — if he chose to make a public exhibition 

of himself, it was his own affair ; but to see him would 

* 
surely spoil Miss Pemberton's evening, and, in her 

frame of mind, might lead to the suspicion that Ellis 
had prearranged the exposure. Even if she should 
not harbor this unjust thought, she would not love the 
witness of her discomfiture. We had rather not meet 
the persons who have seen, even though they never 
mention, the skeletons in our closets. Delamere had 
disposed of himself for the evening. Ellis would have 
a fairer field with Delamere out of sight and unac- 
counted for, than with Delamere in evidence in his 
present condition. 

" Would n't you rather take a stroll on the beach, 
Miss Clara ? " he asked, in the hope of creating a 
diversion. 

" No, I 'm going to the parlor. You need n't come, 
Mr. Ellis, if you 'd rather go down to the beach. I 
can quite as well go alone." 

" I 'd rather go with you," he said meekly. 

They were moving toward the door opening into 
the hall, from which the broad staircase ascended. 
Ellis, whose thoughts did not always respond quickly 
to a sudden emergency, was puzzling his brain as to 
how he should save her from any risk of seeing Dela- 
mere. Through the side door leading from the hall 
into the office, he saw the bell-boy to whom he had 
spoken seated on the bench provided for the servants. 

" Won't you wait for me just a moment, Miss 
Clara, " while I step into the office ? I '11 be with 
you in an instant." 

Clara hesitated. 



148 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Oh, certainly," she replied nonchalantly. 

Ellis went direct to the bell-boy. " Sit right where 
you are," he said, " and don't move a hair. What is 
the lady in the hall doing ? " 

" She 's got her back tu'ned this way, suh. I 'spec' 
she 's lookin' at the picture on the opposite wall, suh." 

" All right," whispered Ellis, pressing a coin into 
the servant's hand. " I 'm going up to the parlor 
with the lady. You go up ahead of us, and keep in 
front of us along the hall. Don't dare to look back. 
I shall keep on talking to the lady, so that you can 
tell by my voice where we are. When you get to 
room 256, go in and shut the door behind you : pre- 
tend that you were called, — ask the gentlemen what 
they want, — tell any kind of a lie you like, — but 
keep the door shut until you 're sure we 've got by. 
Do 3 t ou hear ? " 

" Yes, suh," replied the negro intelligently. 

The plan worked without a hitch. Ellis talked 
steadily, about the hotel, the furnishings, all sorts of 
irrelevant subjects, to which Miss Pemberton paid 
little attention. She was angry with Delamere, and 
took no pains to conceal her feelings. The bell-boy 
entered room 256 just before they reached the door. 
Ellis had heard loud talking as they approached, and 
as they were passing there was a crash of broken 
glass, as though some object had been thrown at the 
door. 

" What is the matter there ? " exclaimed Clara, 
quickening her footsteps and instinctively drawing 
closer to Ellis. 

" Some one dropped a glass, I presume," replied 
Ellis calmly. 

Miss Pemberton glanced at him suspiciously. She 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 149 

was in a decidedly perverse mood. Seating herself 
at the piano, she played brilliantly for a quarter of 
an hour. Quite a number of couples strolled up to 
the parlor, but Delamere was not among them. 

" Oh dear ! " exclaimed Miss Pemberton, as she let 
her fingers fall upon the keys with a discordant crash, 
after the last note, " I don't see why we came out here 
to-night. Let 's go back downstairs." 

Ellis felt despondent. He had done his utmost to 
serve and to please Miss Pemberton, but was not 
likely, he foresaw, to derive much benefit from his 
opportunity. Delamere was evidently as much or 
more in her thoughts by reason of his absence than if 
he had been present. If the door should have been 
opened, and she should see him from the hall upon 
their return, Ellis could not help it. He took the side 
next to the door, however, meaning to hurry past the 
room so that she might not recognize Delamere. 

Fortunately the door was closed and all quiet 
within the room. On the stairway they met the bell- 
boy, rubbing his head with one hand and holding a 
bottle of seltzer upon a tray in the other. The boy 
was well enough trained to give no sign of recogni- 
tion, though Ellis guessed the destination of the bottle. 

Ellis hardly knew whether to feel pleased or disap- 
pointed at the success of his manoeuvres. He had 
spared Miss Pemberton some mortification, but he 
had saved Tom Delamere from merited exposure. 
Clara ought to know the truth, for her own sake. 

On the beach, a few rods away, fires were burning, 
around which several merry groups had gathered. 
The smoke went mostly to one side, but a slight whiff 
came now and then to where Mrs. Carteret sat await- 
ing them. 



150 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" They 're roasting oysters," said Mrs. Carteret. 
" I wish you 'd bring me some, Mr. Ellis." 

Ellis strolled down to the beach. A large iron 
plate, with a turned-up rim like a great baking-pan, 
supported by legs which held it off the ground, was set 
over a fire built upon the sand. This primitive oven 
was heaped with small oysters in the shell, taken from 
the neighboring sound, and hauled up to the hotel by 
a negro whose pony cart stood near by. A wet coffee- 
sack of burlaps was spread over the oysters, which, 
when steamed sufficiently, were opened by a colored 
man and served gratis to all who cared for them. 

Ellis secured a couple of plates of oysters, which 
he brought to Mrs. Carteret and Clara ; they were 
small, but finely flavored. 

Meanwhile Delamere, who possessed a remarkable 
faculty of recuperation from the effects of drink, had 
waked from his sleep, and remembering his engage- 
ment, had exerted himself to overcome the ravages 
of the afternoon's debauch. A dash of cold water 
braced him up somewhat. A bottle of seltzer and a 
big cup of strong coffee still further strengthened his 
nerves. 

When Ellis returned to the veranda, after having 
taken away the plates, Delamere had joined the ladies 
and was explaining the cause of his absence. 

He had been overcome by the heat, he said, while 
out fishing, and had been lying down ever since. 
Perhaps he ought to have sent for a doctor, but the 
fellows had looked after him. He had n't sent word 
to his friends because he had n't wished to spoil their 
evening. 

" That was very considerate of you, Tom," said 
Mrs. Carteret dryly, "but you ought to have let us 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 151 

know. We have been worrying about you very much. 
Clara has found the evening dreadfully dull." 

" Indeed, no, sister Olivia," said the young lady 
cheerfully, " I 've been having a lovely time. Mr. 
Ellis and I have been up in the parlor ; I played the 
piano ; and we 've been eating oysters and having a 
most delightful time. Won't you take me down 
there to the beach, Mr. Ellis ? I want to see the fires. 
Come on." 

" Can't I go ? " asked Tom jealously. 

"No, indeed, you mustn't stir a foot! You must 
not overtax yourself so soon ; it might do you serious 
injury. Stay here with sister Olivia." 

She took Ellis's arm with exaggerated cordiality. 
Delamere glared after them angrily. Ellis did not 
stop to question her motives, but took the goods the 
gods provided. With no very great apparent effort, 
Miss Pemberton became quite friendly, and they 
strolled along the beach, in sight of the hotel, for 
nearly half an hour. As they were coming up she 
asked him abruptly, — 

44 Mr. Ellis, did you know Tom was in the hotel? " 

Ellis was looking across the sound, at the lights of 
a distant steamer which was making her way toward 
the harbor. 

44 1 wonder," he said musingly, as though he had 
not heard her question, 44 if that is the Ocean Belle?" 

44 And was he really sick ? " she demanded. 

44 She 's later than usual this trip," continued Ellis, 
pursuing his thought. 44 She was due about five 
o'clock." 

Miss Pemberton, under cover of the darkness, 
smiled a fine smile, which foreboded ill for some one. 
When they joined the party on the piazza, the major 



152 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

had come up and was saying that it was time to go. 
He had been engaged in conversation, for most of the 
evening, with General Belmont and several other 
gentlemen. 

" Here comes the general now. Let me see. There 
are five of us. The general has offered me a seat in 
his buggy, and Tom can go with you-all." 

The general came up and spoke to the ladies. Tom 
murmured his thanks ; it would enable him to make 
up a part of the delightful evening he had missed. 

When Mrs. Carteret had taken the rear seat, Clara 
promptly took the place beside her. Ellis and Dela- 
mere sat in front. When Delamere, who had offered 
to drive, took the reins, Ellis saw that his hands were 
shaking. 

" Give me the lines," he whispered. "Your nerves 
are unsteady and the road is not well lighted." 

Delamere prudently yielded the reins. He did not 
like Ellis's tone, which seemed sneering rather than 
expressive of sympathy with one who had been suf- 
fering. He wondered if the beggar knew anything 
about his illness. Clara had been acting strangely. 
It would have been just like Ellis to have slandered 
him. The upstart had no business with Clara any- 
way. He would cheerfully have strangled Ellis, if he 
could have done so with safety to himself and no 
chance of discovery. 

The drive homeward through the night was almost 
a silent journey. Mrs. Carteret was anxious about 
her baby. Clara did not speak, except now and then 
to Ellis with reference to some object in or near the 
road. Occasionally they passed a vehicle in the dark- 
ness, sometimes barely avoiding a collision. Ear to 
the north the sky was lit up with the glow of a forest 



ELLIS TAKES A TRICK 153 

fire. The breeze from the Sound was deliciously cool. 
Soon the last toll-gate was passed and the lights of the 
town appeared. 

Ellis threw the lines to William, who was waiting, 
and hastened to help the ladies out. 

" Good-night, Mr. Ellis," said Clara sweetly, as she 
gave Ellis her hand. " Thank you for a very pleasant 
evening. Come up and see us soon." 

She ran into the house without a word to Tom. 



XVII 

THE SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 

It was only eleven o'clock, and Delamere, not being 
at all sleepy, and feeling somewhat out of sorts as the 
combined results of his afternoon's debauch and the 
snubbing he had received at Clara's hands, directed 
the major's coachman, who had taken charge of the 
trap upon its arrival, to drive him to the St. James 
Hotel before returning the horses to the stable. First, 
however, the coachman left Ellis at his boarding- 
house, which was near by. The two young men 
parted with as scant courtesy as was possible without 
an open rupture. 

Delamere hoped to find at the hotel some form of 
distraction to fill in an hour or two before going 
home. Ill fortune favored him by placing in his way 
the burly form of Captain George McBane, who was 
sitting in an armchair alone, smoking a midnight 
cigar, under the hotel balcony. Upon Delamere' s 
making known his desire for amusement, the captain 
proposed a small game of poker in his own room. 

McBane had been waiting for some such convenient 
opportunity. We have already seen that the captain 
was desirous of social recognition, which he had not 
yet obtained beyond the superficial acquaintance ac- 
quired by association with men about town. He had 
determined to assault society in its citadel by seeking 
membership in the Clarendon Club, of which most 



SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 155 

gentlemen of the best families of the city were mem- 
bers. 

The Clarendon Club was a historic institution, and 
its membership a social cult, the temple of which was 
located just off the main street of the city, in a digni- 
fied old colonial mansion which had housed it for the 
nearly one hundred years during which it had main- 
tained its existence unbroken. There had grown up 
around it many traditions and special usages. Mem- 
bership in the Clarendon was the sine qua non of 
high social standing, and was conditional upon two of 
three things, — birth, wealth, and breeding. Breed- 
ing was the prime essential, but, with rare exceptions, 
must be backed by either birth or money. 

Having decided, therefore, to seek admission into 
this social arcanum, the captain, who had either not 
quite appreciated the standard of the Clarendon's 
membership, or had failed to see that he fell beneath 
it, looked about for an intermediary through whom to 
approach the object of his desire. He had already 
thought of Tom Delamere in this connection, having 
with him such an acquaintance as one forms around a 
hotel, and having long ago discovered that Delamere 
wa3 a young man of superficially amiable disposition, 
vicious instincts, lax principles, and a weak will, and, 
which was quite as much to the purpose, a member 
of the Clarendon Club. Possessing mental character- 
istics almost entirely opposite, Delamere and the cap- 
tain had certain tastes in common, and had smoked, 
drunk, and played cards together more than once. 

Still more to his purpose, McBane had detected 
Delamere trying to cheat him at cards. He had said 
nothing about this discovery, but had merely noted it 
as something which at some future time might prove 



156 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

useful. The captain had not suffered by Delamere's 
deviation from the straight line of honor, for while 
Tom was as clever with the cards as might be ex- 
pected of a young man who had devoted most of his 
leisure for several years to handling them, McBane 
was past master in their manipulation. During a 
stormy career he had touched more or less pitch, and 
had escaped few sorts of defilement. 

The appearance of Delamere at a late hour, unac- 
companied, and wearing upon his countenance an 
expression in which the captain read aright the crav- 
ing for mental and physical excitement, gave him the 
opportunity for which he had been looking. McBane 
was not the man to lose an opportunity, nor did Dela- 
mere require a second invitation. Neither was it 
necessary, during the progress of the game, for the 
captain to press upon his guest the contents of the 
decanter which stood upon the table within convenient 
reach. 

The captain permitted Delamere to win from him 
several small amounts, after which he gradually in- 
creased the stakes and turned the tables. 

Delamere, with every instinct of a gamester, was 
no more a match for McBane in self-control than in 
skill. When the young man had lost all his money, 
the captain expressed his entire willingness to accept 
notes of hand, for which he happened to have con- 
venient blanks in his apartment. 

When Delamere, flushed with excitement and wine, 
rose from the gaming table at two o'clock, he was 
vaguely conscious that he owed McBane a consider- 
able sum, but could not have stated how much. His 
opponent, who was entirely cool and collected, ran his 
eye carelessly over the bits of paper to which Dela- 
mere had attached his signature. 



SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 157 

" Just one thousand dollars even," he remarked. 

The announcement of this total had as sobering an 
effect upon Delamere as though he had been suddenly 
deluged with a shower of cold water. For a moment 
he caught his breath. He had not a dollar in the 
world with which to pay this sum. His only source of 
income was an allowance from his grandfather, the 
monthly installment of which, drawn that very day, he 
had just lost to McBane, before starting in upon the 
notes of hand. 

" I '11 give you your revenge another time," said 
McBane, as they rose. " Luck is against you to-night, 
and I 'm unwilling to take advantage of a clever young 
fellow like you. Meantime," he added, tossing the 
notes of hand carelessly on a bureau, " don't worry 
about these bits of paper. Such small matters 
should n't cut any figure between friends ; but if you 
are around the hotel to-morrow, I should like to 
speak to you upon another subject." 

" Very well, captain," returned Tom somewhat un- 
graciously. 

Delamere had been completely beaten with his own 
weapons. He had tried desperately to cheat McBane. 
He knew perfectly well that McBane had discovered 
his efforts and had cheated him in turn, for the cap- 
tain's play had clearly been gauged to meet his own. 
The biter had been bit, and could not complain of the 
outcome. 

The following afternoon McBane met Delamere at 
the hotel, and bluntly requested the latter to propose 
him for membership in the Clarendon Club. 

Delamere was annoyed at this request. His aris- 
tocratic gorge rose at the presumption of this son of 



158 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

an overseer and ex-driver of convicts. McBane was 
good enough to win money from, or even to lose 
money to, but not good enough to be recognized as a 
social equal. He would instinctively have blackballed 
McBane had he been proposed by some one else ; with 
what grace could he put himself forward as the 
sponsor for this impossible social aspirant ? More- 
over, it was clearly a vulgar, cold-blooded attempt 
on McBane's part to use his power over him for a 
personal advantage. 

" Well, now, Captain McBane," returned Delamere 
diplomatically, " I 've never put any one up yet, and 
it 's not regarded as good form for so young a mem- 
ber as myself to propose candidates. I 'd much 
rather you 'd ask some older man." 

"Oh, well," replied McBane, "just as you say, 
only I thought you had cut your eye teeth." 

Delamere was not pleased with McBane's tone. 
His remark was not acquiescent, though couched in 
terms of assent. There was a sneering savagery 
about it, too, that left Delamere uneasy. He was, in 
a measure, in McBane's power. He could not pay 
the thousand dollars, unless it fell from heaven, or he 
could win it from some one else. He would not dare 
go to his grandfather for help. Mr. Delamere did 
not even know that his grandson gambled. He might 
not have objected, perhaps, to a gentleman's game, 
with moderate stakes, but he would certainly, Tom 
knew very well, have looked upon a thousand dollars 
as a preposterous sum to be lost at cards by a man 
who had nothing with which to pay it. It was part 
of Mr. Delamere's creed that a gentleman should not 
make debts that he was not reasonably able to pa}^. 

There was still another difficulty. If he had lost 



SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 159 

the money to a gentleman, and it had been his first 
serious departure from Mr. Delamere's perfectly well 
understood standard of honor, Tom might have risked 
a confession and thrown himself on his grandfather's 
mercy ; but he owed other sums here and there, 
which, to his just now much disturbed imagination, 
loomed up in alarming number and amount. He had 
recently observed signs of coldness, too, on the part of 
certain members of the club. Moreover, like most men 
with one commanding vice, he was addicted to several 
subsidiary forms of iniquity, which in case of a scan- 
dal were more than likely to come to light. He was 
clearly and most disagreeably caught in the net of his 
own hypocrisy. His grandfather believed him a 
model of integrity, a pattern of honor ; he could not 
afford to have his grandfather undeceived. 

He thought of old Mrs. Ochiltree. If she were a 
liberal soul, she could L give him a thousand dollars 
now, when he needed it, instead of making him wait 
until she died, which might not be for ten years or 
more, for a legacy which was steadily growing less 
and might be entirely exhausted if she lived long 
enough, — some old people were very tenacious of life ! 
She was a careless old woman, too, he reflected, and 
very foolishly kept her money in the house. Lat- 
terly she had been growing weak and childish. Some 
day she might be robbed, and then his prospective 
inheritance from that source would vanish into thin 
air! 

With regard to this debt to McBane, if he could 
not pay it, he could at least gain a long respite by 
proposing the captain at the club. True, he would 
undoubtedly be blackballed, but before this inevitable 
event his name must remain posted for several weeks, 



160 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

during which interval McBane would be conciliatory. 
On the other hand, to propose McBane would arouse 
suspicion of his own motives ; it might reach his 
grandfather's ears, and lead to a demand for an 
explanation, which it would be difficult to make. 
Clearly, the better plan would be to temporize with 
McBane, with the hope that something might inter- 
vene to remove this cursed obligation. 

" Suppose, captain," he said affably, " we leave the 
matter open for a few days. This is a thing that 
can't be rushed. I '11 feel the pulse of my friends 
and yours, and when we get the lay of the land, the 
affair can be accomplished much more easily." 

" Well, that 's better," returned McBane, somewhat 
mollified, — " if you '11 do that." 

" To be sure I will," replied Tom easily, too much 
relieved to resent, if not too preoccupied to perceive, 
the implied doubt of his veracity. 

McBane ordered and paid for more drinks, and 
they parted on amicable terms. 

" We '11 let these notes stand for the time being, 
Tom," said McBane, with significant emphasis, when 
they separated. 

Delamere winced at the familiarity. He had 
reached that degree of moral deterioration where, 
while principles were of little moment, the externals 
of social intercourse possessed an exaggerated impor- 
tance. McBane had never before been so personal. 
He had addressed the young aristocrat first as " Mr. 
Delamere," then, as their acquaintance advanced, as 
" Delamere." He had now reached the abbreviated 
Christian name stage of familiarity. There was no 
lower depth to which Tom could sink, unless McBane 
should invent a nickname by which to address him. 



SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 161 

He did not like MeBane's manner, — it was charac- 
terized by a veiled insolence which was exceedingly 
offensive. He would go over to the club and try his 
luck with some honest player, — perhaps something 
might turn up to relieve him from his embarrassment. 

He put his hand in his pocket mechanically, — and 
found it empty ! In the present state of his credit, 
he could hardly play without money. 

A thought struck him. Leaving the hotel, he 
hastened home, where he found Sandy dusting his 
famous suit of clothes on the back piazza. Mr. Dela- 
mere was not at home, having departed for Belleview 
about two o'clock, leaving Sandy to follow him in the 
morning. 

"Hello, Sandy," exclaimed Tom, with an assumed 
jocularity which he was very far from feeling, " what 
are you doing with those gorgeous garments ? " 

" I 'm a-dustin' of 'em, Mistuh Tom, dat 's w'at 
I 'm a-doin'. Dere 's somethin' wrong 'bout dese 
clo's er mine — I don' never seem ter be able ter keep 
'em clean no mo'. Ef I b'lieved in dem ole-timey 
sayin's, I 'd 'low dere wuz a witch come here eve'y 
night an' tuk 'em out an' wo' 'em, er tuk me out an' 
rid me in 'em. Dere wuz somethin' wrong 'bout dat 
Cakewalk business, too, dat I ain' never unde'stood 
an' don' know how ter 'count fer, 'less dere wuz some 
kin' er dev'lishness goin' on dat don' show on de su'- 
face." 

" Sandy," asked Tom irrelevantly, " have you any 
money in the house ? " 

" Yas, suh, I got de money Mars John give me 
ter git dem things ter take out ter Belleview in de 
mawnin'." 

" I mean money of your own." 



162 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" I got a qua' ter ter buy terbacker wid," returned 
Sandy cautiously. 

" Is that all ? Have n't you some saved up ? " 

" Well, yas, Mistuh Tom," returned Sandy, with 
evident reluctance, " dere 's a few dollahs put away in 
my bureau drawer fer a rainy day, — not much, sun." 

" I 'm a little short this afternoon, Sandy, and need 
some money right away. Grandfather is n't here, so 
I can't get any from him. Let me take what you 
have for a day or two, Sandy, and I '11 return it with 
good interest." 

" Now, Mistuh Tom," said Sandy seriously, " I 
don' min' lettin' you take my money, but I hopes you 
ain' gwine ter use it fer none er dem rakehelly 
gwines-on er yo'n, — gamblin' an' bettin' an' so fo'th. 
Yo' grandaddy '11 fin' out 'bout you yit, ef you don' 
min' yo' P's an' Q's. I does my bes' ter keep yo' mis- 
doin's f'm 'im, an' sense I b'en tu'ned out er de chu'ch 
— thoo no fault er my own, God knows ! — I 've tol' 
lies 'nuff 'bout you ter sink a ship. But it ain't right, 
Mistuh Tom, it ain't right ! an' I only does it fer de 
sake er de fam'ly honuh, dat Mars John sets so much 
sto' by, an' ter save his feelin's ; fer de doctuh says 
he mus' n' git ixcited 'bout nothin', er it mought bring 
on another stroke." 

" That 's right, Sandy," replied Tom approvingly ; 
" but the family honor is as safe in my hands as in 
grandfather's own, and I 'm going to use the money 
for an excellent purpose, in fact to relieve a case of 
genuine distress ; and I '11 hand it back to you in a 
day or two, — perhaps to-morrow. Fetch me the 
money, Sandy, — that 's a good darky ! " 

"All right, Mistuh Tom, you shill have de money; 
but I wants ter tell you, suh, dat in all de yeahs I has 



SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 163 

wo'ked fer yo' gran'daddy, he has never called me a 
' darky ' ter my face, suh. Co'se I knows dere 's w'ite 
folks an' black folks, — but dere 's manners, suh, 
dere 's manners, an' gent'emen oughter be de ones ter 
use 'em, suh, ef dey ain't ter be fergot enti'ely ! '' 

" There, there, Sandy," returned Tom in a concilia- 
tory tone, " I beg your pardon ! I 've been associating 
with some Northern white folks at the hotel, and 
picked up the word from them. You 're a high-toned 
colored gentleman, Sandy, — the finest one on the 
footstool." 

Still muttering to himself, Sandy retired to his 
own room, which was in the house, so that he might 
be always near his master. He soon returned with a 
time-stained leather pocket-book and a coarse-knit 
cotton sock, from which two receptacles he painfully 
extracted a number of bills and coins. 

"You count dat, Mistuh Tom, so I'll know how 
much I 'm lettin' you have." 

" This is n't worth anything," said Tom, pushing 
aside one roll of bills. " It 's Confederate money." 

" So it is, suh. It ain't wuth nothin' now ; but it 
has be'n money, an' who kin tell but what it mought 
be money agin ? De rest er dem bills is greenbacks, 
— dey '11 pass all right, I reckon." 

The good money amounted to about fifty dollars, 
which Delamere thrust eagerly into his pocket. 

" You won't say anything to grandfather about this, 
will you, Sandy," he said, as he turned away. 

" No, suh, co'se I won't ! Does I ever tell 'im 
'bout yo' gwines-on ? Ef I did," he added to himself, 
as the young man disappeared down the street, " I 
would n' have time ter do nothin' e'se ha'dly. I don' 
know whether I '11 ever see dat money agin er no, do' 



164 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

I 'magine de ole gent'eman would n' lemme lose it ef 
he knowed. But I ain' gwiue ter tell him, whether I 
git my money back er no, fer he is jes' so wrop' up in 
dat boy dat I b'lieve it 'd jes' break his hea't ter fin' 
out how he 's be'n gwine on. Doctuh Price has tol' 
me not ter let de ole gent'eman git ixcited, er e'se 
dere 's no tellin' w'at mought happen. He 's be'n good 
ter me, he has, an' I 'm gwine ter take keer er him, 
— dat 's w'at I is, ez long ez I has de chance." 

Delamere went directly to the club, and soon lounged 
into the card-room, where several of the members were 
engaged in play. He sauntered here and there, too 
much absorbed in his own thoughts to notice that the 
greetings he received were less cordial than those 
usually exchanged between the members of a small 
and select social club. Finally, when Augustus, com- 
monly and more appropriately called " Gus," David- 
son came into the room, Tom stepped toward him. 

" Will you take a hand in a game, Gus ? " 

"Don't care if I do," said the other. "Let's sit 
over here." 

Davidson led the way to a table near the fireplace, 
near which stood a tall screen, which at times occupied 
various places in the room. Davidson took the seat 
opposite the fireplace, leaving Delamere*with his back 
to the screen. 

Delamere staked half of Sandy's money, and lost. 
He staked the rest, and determined to win, because 
he could not afford to lose. He had just reached out 
his hand to gather in the stakes, when he was charged 
with cheating at cards, of which two members, who 
had quietly entered the room and posted themselves 
behind the screen, had secured specific proof. 



SOCIAL ASPIRATIONS OF CAPTAIN McBANE 1G5 

A meeting of the membership committee was hastily 
summoned, it being an hour at which most of them 
might be found at the club. To avoid a scandal, and 
to save the feelings of a prominent family, Delamere 
was given an opportunity to resign quietly from the 
club, on condition that he paid all his gambling debts 
within three days, and took an oath never to play 
cards again for money. This latter condition was 
made at the suggestion of an elderly member, who 
apparently believed that a man who would cheat at 
cards would stick at perjury. 

Delamere acquiesced very promptly. The taking 
of the oath was easy. The payment of some fifteen 
hundred dollars of debts was a different matter. He 
went away from the club thoughtfully, and it may be 
said, in full justice to a past which was far from 
immaculate, that in his present thoughts he touched a 
depth of scoundrelism far beyond anything of which 
he had as yet deemed himself capable. When a man 
of good position, of whom much is expected, takes to 
evil courses, his progress is apt to resemble that of a 
well-bred woman who has started on the downward 
path, — the pace is all the swifter because of the 
distance which must be traversed to reach the bottom. 
Delamere had made rapid headway ; having hitherto 
played with sin, his servant had now become his 
master, and held him in an iron grip. 



XVIII 

SANDY SEES HIS OWN HA'NT 

Having finished cleaning his clothes, Sandy went 
out to the kitchen for supper, after which he found 
himself with nothing to do. Mr. Delamere's absence 
relieved him from attendance at the house during 
the evening. He might have smoked his pipe tran- 
quilly in the kitchen until bedtime, had not the cook 
intimated, rather pointed^, that she expected other 
company. To a man of Sandy's tact a word was 
sufficient, and he resigned himself to seeking com- 
panionship elsewhere. 

Under normal circumstances, Sandy would have at- 
tended prayer-meeting on this particular evening of 
the week ; but being still in contumacy, and cherish- 
ing what he considered the just resentment of a man 
falsely accused, he stifled the inclination which by 
long habit led him toward the church, and set out for 
the house of a friend with whom it occurred to him 
that he might spend the evening pleasantly. Un- 
fortunately, his friend proved to be not at home, so 
Sandy turned his footsteps toward the lower part of 
the town, where the streets were well lighted, and on 
pleasant evenings quite animated. On the way he 
met Josh Green, whom he had known for many years, 
though their paths did not often cross. In his loneli- 
ness Sandy accepted an invitation to go with Josh 
and have a drink, — a single drink. 



SANDY SEES HIS OWN HA'NT 167 

When Sandy was going home about eleven o'clock, 
three sheets in the wind, such was the potent effect 
of the single drink and those which had followed it, 
he was scared almost into soberness by a remarkable 
apparition. As it seemed to Sandy, he saw himself 
hurrying along in front of himself toward the house. 
Possibly the muddled condition of Sandy's intellect 
had so affected his judgment as to vitiate any con- 
clusion he might draw, but Sandy was quite sober 
enough to perceive that the figure ahead of him wore 
his best clothes and looked exactly like him, but 
seemed to be in something more of a hurry, a dis- 
crepancy which Sandy at once corrected by quickening 
his own pace so as to maintain as nearly as possible 
an equal distance between himself and his double. 
The situation was certainly an incomprehensible one, 
and savored of the supernatural. 

"Ef dat's me gwine 'long in front," mused Sandy, 
in vinous perplexity, " den who is dis behin' here ? 
Dere ain' but one er me, an' my ha'nt would n' leave 
my body 'tel I wuz dead. Ef dat 's me in front, den 
I inus' be my own ha'nt ; an' whichever one of us is 
de ha'nt, de yuther must be dead an' don' know it. I 
don' know what ter make er no sech gwines-on, I 
don't. Maybe it ain' me after all, but it certainly do 
look lack me." 

When the apparition disappeared in the house by 
the side door, Sandy stood in the yard for several 
minutes, under the shade of an elm-tree, before he 
could make up his mind to enter the house. He took 
courage, however, upon the reflection that perhaps, 
after all, it was only the bad liquor he had drunk. 
Bad liquor often made people see double. 

He entered the house. It was dark, except for a 



168 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

light in Tom Delarnere's room. Sandy tapped softly 
at the door. 

" Who 's there ? ' : came Delamere's voice, in a 
somewhat startled tone, after a momentary silence. 

" It 's me, suh ; Sandy." 

They both spoke softly. It was the rule of the 
house when Mr. Delamere had retired, and though he 
was not at home, habit held its wonted sway. 

" Just a moment, Sandy." 

Sandy waited patiently in the hall until the door 
was opened. If the room showed any signs of haste 
or disorder, Sandy was too full of his own thoughts 
— and other things — to notice them. 

" What do you want, Sandy," asked Tom. 

" Mistuh Tom," asked Sandy solemnly, " ef I wuz 
in yo' place, an' you wuz in my place, an' we wuz bofe 
in de same place, whar would I be ? " 

Tom looked at Sandy keenly, with a touch of 
apprehension. Did Sandy mean anything in par- 
ticular by this enigmatical inquiry, and if so, what ? 
But Sandy's face clearly indicated a state of mind in 
which consecutive thought was improbable ; and after 
a brief glance Delamere breathed more freely. 

" I give it up, Sand} r ," he responded lightly. 
"That's too deep for me." 

" 'Scuse me, Mistuh Tom, but is you beared er seed 
anybody er anything come in de house fer de las' ten 
minutes ? " 

" Why, no, Sandy, I have n't heard any one. I 
came from the club an hour ago. I had forgotten my 
key, and Sally got up and let me in, and then went 
back to bed. I 've been sitting here reading ever 
since. I should have heard any one who came in." 

" Mistuh Tom," inquired Sandy anxiously, " would 
you 'low dat I 'd be'n drinkin' too much ? " 



' SANDY SEES HIS OWN HA'NT 169 

" No, Sandy, I should say you were sober enough, 
though of course you may have had a few drinks. 
Perhaps you 'd like another ? I 've got something 
good here." 

" No, suh, Mistuh Tom, no, suh ! No mo' liquor 
fer me, suh, never ! When liquor kin make a man 
see his own ha'nt, it 's 'bout time fer dat man ter quit 
drinkin', it sho' is ! Good-night, Mistuh Tom." 

As Sandy turned to go, Delamere was struck by a 
sudden and daring thought. The creature of impulse, 
he acted upon it immediately. 

44 By the way, Sandy," he exclaimed carelessly, " I 
can pay you back that money you were good enough 
to lend me this afternoon. I think I '11 sleep better 
if I have the debt off my mind, and I should n't won- 
der if you would. You don't mind having it in gold, 
do you ? " 

44 No, indeed, suh," replied Sandy. 44 1 ain' seen 
no gol' fer so long dat de sight er it 'd be good fer my 
eyes." 

Tom counted out ten five-dollar gold pieces upon 
the table at his elbow. 

44 And here 's another, Sandy," he said, adding an 
eleventh, 44 as interest for the use of it." 

44 Thank y', Mistuh Tom. I did n't spec' no in- 
trus', but I don' never 'fuse gol' w'en I kin git it." 

44 And here," added Delamere, reaching carelessly 
into a bureau drawer, 44 is a little old silk purse that 
I 've had since I was a boy. I '11 put the gold in it, 
Sandy ; it will hold it very nicely." 

44 Thank y', Mistuh Tom. You're a gentleman, suh, 
an' wo'thy er de fam'ly name. Good-night, suh, an' 
I hope yo' dreams '11 be pleasanter 'n' mine. Ef it 
wa'n't fer dis gol' kinder takin' my min' off'n dat 



170 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ha'nt, I don' s'pose I 'd be able to do much sleepin' 
ter-night. Good-night, suh." 

" Good-night, Sandy." 

Whether or not Delamere slept soundly, or was 
troubled by dreams, pleasant or unpleasant, it is 
nevertheless true that he locked his door, and sat up 
an hour later, looking through the drawers of his 
bureau, and burning several articles in the little iron 
stove which constituted part of the bedroom furni- 
ture. 

It is also true that he rose very early, before the 
household was stirring. The cook slept in a room off 
the kitchen, which was in an outhouse in the back 
yard. She was just stretching herself, preparatory to 
getting up, when Tom came to her window and said 
that he was going off fishing, to be gone all day, and 
that he would not wait for breakfast. 



XIX 

A MIDNIGHT WALK 

Ellis left the office of the Morning Chronicle about 
eleven o'clock the same evening and set out to walk 
home. His boarding-house was only a short distance 
beyond old Mr. Delamere's residence, and while he 
might have saved time and labor by a slightly shorter 
route, he generally selected this one because it led also 
by Major Carteret's house. Sometimes there would be 
a ray of light from Clara's room, which was on one of 
the front corners ; and at any rate he would have the 
pleasure of gazing at the outside of the casket that 
enshrined the jewel of his heart. It was true that 
this purely sentimental pleasure was sometimes dashed 
with bitterness at the thought of his rival ; but one 
in love must take the bitter with the sweet, and who 
would say that a spice of jealousy does not add a cer- 
tain zest to love? On this particular evening, how- 
ever, he was in a hopeful mood. At the Clarendon 
Club, where he had gone, a couple of hours before, to 
verify a certain news item for the morning paper, 
he had heard a story about Tom Delamere which, he 
imagined, would spike that gentleman's guns for all 
time, so far as Miss Pemberton was concerned. So 
grave an affair as cheating at cards could never be 
kept secret, — it was certain to reach her ears ; and 
Ellis was morally certain that Clara would never 
marry a man who had been proved dishonorable. In 



172 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

all probability there would be no great sensation 
about the matter. Delamere was too well connected ; 
too many prominent people would be involved, — even 
Clara, and the editor himself, of whom Delamere was 
a distant cousin. The reputation of the club was also 
to be considered. Ellis was not the man to feel a 
malicious delight in the misfortunes of another, nor 
was he a pessimist who welcomed scandal and dis- 
grace with open arms, as confirming a gloomy theory 
of human life. But, with the best intentions in the 
world, it was no more than human nature that he 
should feel a certain elation in the thought that his 
rival had been practically disposed of, and the field 
left clear ; especially since this good situation had 
been brought about merely by the unmasking of a 
hypocrite, who had held him at an unfair disadvan- 
tage in the race for Clara's favor. 

The night was quiet, except for the faint sound of 
distant music now and then, or the mellow laughter of 
some group of revelers. Ellis met but few pedestri- 
ans, but as he neared old Mr. Delamere's, he saw two 
men walking in the same direction as his own, on the 
opposite side of the street. He had observed that 
they kept at about an equal distance apart, and that 
the second, from the stealthy manner in which he was 
making his way, was anxious to keep the first in sight, 
without disclosing his own presence. This aroused 
Ellis's curiosity, which was satisfied in some degree 
when the man in advance sto]3ped beneath a lamp-post 
and stood for a moment looking across the street, with 
his face plainly visible in the yellow circle of light. 
It was a dark face, and Ellis recognized it instantly 
as that of old Mr. Delamere's body servant, whose 
personal appearance had been very vividly impressed 



A MIDNIGHT WALK 173 

upon Ellis at the christening dinner at Major Car- 
teret's. He had seen Sandy once since, too, at the 
hotel cakewalk. The negro had a small bundle in his 
hand, the nature of which Ellis could not make out. 

When Sandy had stopped beneath the lamp-post, 
the man who was following him had dodged behind a 
tree-trunk. When Sandy moved on, Ellis, who had 
stopped in turn, saw the man in hiding come out and 
follow Sandy. When this second man came in range 
of the light, Ellis wondered that there should be 
two men so much alike. The first of the two had 
undoubtedly been Sandy. Ellis had recognized the 
peculiar, old-fashioned coat that Sandy had worn 
upon the two occasions when he had noticed him. 
Barring this difference, and the somewhat unsteady 
gait of the second man, the two were as much alike as 
twin brothers. 

When they had entered Mr. Delamere's house, one 
after the other, — in the stillness of the night Ellis 
could perceive that each of them tried to make as lit- 
tle noise as possible, — Ellis supposed that they were 
probably relatives, both employed as servants, or 
that some younger negro, taking Sandy for a model, 
was trying to pattern himself after his superior. 
Why all this mystery, of course he could not imagine, 
unless the younger man had been out without permis- 
sion and was trying to avoid the accusing eye of 
Sandy. Ellis was vaguely conscious that he had seen 
the other negro somewhere, but he could not for the 
moment place him, — there were so many negroes, 
nearly three negroes to one white man in the city of 
Wellington ! 

The subject, however, while curious, was not im- 
portant as compared with the thoughts of his sweet- 



174 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

heart which drove it from his mind. Clara had been 
kind to him the night before, — whatever her motive, 
she had been kind, and could not consistently return 
to her attitude of coldness. With Delamere hope- 
lessly discredited, Ellis hoped to have at least fair 
play, — with fair play, he would take his chances of 
the outcome. 



XX 

A SHOCKING CRIME 

On Friday morning, when old Mrs. Ochiltree's 
cook Dinah went to wake her mistress, she was con- 
fronted with a sight that well-nigh blanched her 
ebony cheek and caused her eyes almost to start from 
her head with horror. As soon as she could com- 
mand her trembling limbs sufficiently to make them 
carry her, she rushed out of the house and down the 
street, bareheaded, covering in an incredibly short 
time the few blocks that separated Mrs. Ochiltree's 
residence from that of her niece. 

She hastened around the house, and finding the 
back door open and the servants stirring, ran into the 
house and up the stairs with the familiarity of an old 
servant, not stopping until she reached the door of 
Mrs. Carteret's chamber, at which she knocked in 
great agitation. 

Entering in response to Mrs. Carteret's invitation, 
she found the lady, dressed in a simple wrapper, 
superintending the morning toilet of little Dodie, who 
was a wakeful child, and insisted upon rising with the 
birds, for whose music he still showed a great fond- 
ness, in spite of his narrow escape while listening to 
the mockingbird. 

" What is it, Dinah ? " asked Mrs. Carteret, alarmed 
at the frightened face of her aunt's old servitor. 

" O my Lawd, Mis' 'Livy, my Lawd, my Lawd ! 



176 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

My legs is trim'lin' so dat I can't ha'dly hoi' my 
han's stiddy 'nough ter say w'at I got ter say ! O 
Lawd have mussy on us po' sinners ! Watever is 
gwine ter happen in dis worl' er sin an' sorrer ! " 

" What in the world is the matter, Dinah ? " de- 
manded Mrs. Carteret, whose own excitement had 
increased with the length of this preamble. " Has 
anything happened to Aunt Polly ? " 

" Somebody done broke in de house las' night, Mis' 
'Livy, an' kill' Mis' Polly, an' lef her layin' dead on 
de flo', in her own blood, wid her cedar chis' broke' 
open, an' eve'thing scattered roun' de flo' ! O my 
Lawd, my Lawd, my Lawd, my Lawd ! " 

Mrs. Carteret was shocked beyond expression. 
Perhaps the spectacle of Dinah's unrestrained terror 
aided her to retain a greater measure of self-control 
than she might otherwise have been capable of. 
Giving the nurse some directions^, in regard to the 
child, she hastily descended the stairs, and seizing a 
hat and jacket from the rack in the hall, ran immedi- 
ately with Dinah to the scene of the tragedy. Before 
the thought of this violent death all her aunt's faults 
faded into insignificance, and only her good qualities 
were remembered. She had reared Olivia ; she had 
stood up for the memory of Olivia's mother when 
others had seemed to forget what was due to it. To 
her niece she had been a second mother, and had 
never been lacking in affection. 

More than one motive, however, lent wings to Mrs. 
Carteret's feet. Her aunt's incomplete disclosures on 
the day of the drive past the hospital had been weigh- 
ing upon Mrs. Carteret's mind, and she had intended 
to make another effort this very day, to get an answer 
to her question about the papers which the woman had 



A SHOCKING CRIME 177 

claimed were in existence. Suppose her aunt had 
really found such papers, — papers which would seem 
to prove the preposterous claim made by her father's 
mulatto mistress ? Suppose that, with the fatuity 
which generally leads human beings to keep compro- 
mising documents, her aunt had preserved these 
papers ? If they should be found there in the house, 
there might be a scandal, if nothing worse, and this 
was to be avoided at all hazards. 

Guided by some fortunate instinct, Dinah had as yet 
informed no one but Mrs. Carteret of her discovery. 
If they could reach the house before the murder be- 
came known to any third person, she might be the first 
to secure access to the remaining contents of the cedar 
chest, which would be likely to be held as evidence in 
case the officers of the law forestalled her own arrival. 

They found the house wrapped in the silence of 
death. Mrs. Carteret entered the chamber of the 
dead woman. Upon the floor, where it had fallen, 
lay the body in a pool of blood, the strongly marked 
countenance scarcely more grim in the rigidity of 
death than it had been in life. A gaping wound in 
the head accounted easily for the death. The cedar 
chest stood open, its strong fastenings having been 
broken by a steel bar which still lay beside it. Near 
it were scattered pieces of old lace, antiquated jewelry, 
tarnished silverware, — the various mute souvenirs 
of the joys and sorrows of a long and active life. 

Kneeling by the open chest, Mrs. Carteret glanced 
hurriedly through its contents. There were no papers 
there except a few old deeds and letters. She had 
risen with a sigh of relief., when she perceived the 
end of a paper projecting from beneath the edge of a 
rug which had been carelessly rumpled, probably by 



178 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the burglar in his hasty search for plunder. This 
paper, or sealed envelope as it proved to be, which 
evidently contained some inclosure, she seized, and at 
the sound of approaching footsteps thrust hastily into 
her own bosom. 

The sight of two agitated women rushing through 
the quiet streets at so early an hour in the morning 
had attracted attention and aroused curiosity, and 
the story of the murder, having once become known, 
spread with the customary rapidity of bad news. Very 
soon a policeman, and a little later a sheriff's officer, 
arrived at the house and took charge of the remains 
to await the arrival of the coroner. 

By nine o'clock a coroner's jury had been sum- 
moned, who, after brief deliberation, returned a ver- 
dict of willful murder at the hands of some person or 
persons unknown, while engaged in the commission of 
a burglary. 

No sooner was the verdict announced than the com- 
munity, or at least the white third of it, resolved itself 
spontaneously into a committee of the whole to dis- 
cover the perpetrator of this dastardly crime, which, 
at this stage of the affair, seemed merely one of robbery 
and murder. 

Suspicion was at once directed toward the negroes, 
as it always is when an unexplained crime is commit- 
ted in a Southern community. The suspicion was not 
entirely an illogical one. Having been, for genera- 
tions, trained up to thriftlessness, theft, and immor- 
ality, against which only thirty years of very limited 
opportunity can be offset, during which brief period 
they have been denied in large measure the healthful 
social stimulus and sympathy which holds most men 
in the path of rectitude, colored people might reason- 



A SHOCKING CRIME 179 

ably be expected to commit at least a share of crime 
proportionate to their numbers. The population of 
the town was at least two thirds colored. The chances 
were, therefore, in the absence of evidence, at least 
two to one that a man of color had committed the 
crime. The Southern tendency to charge the negroes 
with all the crime and immorality of that region, unjust 
and exaggerated as the claim may be, was therefore not 
without a looical basis to the extent above indicated. 

It must not be imagined that any logic was needed, 
or any reasoning consciously worked out. The mere 
suggestion that the crime had been committed by a 
negro was equivalent to proof against any negro that 
might be suspected and could not prove his innocence. 
A committee of white men was hastily formed. Act- 
ing independently of the police force, which was 
practically ignored as likely to favor the negroes, this 
committee set to work to discover the murderer. 

The spontaneous activity of the whites was accom- 
panied by a visible shrinkage of the colored population. 
This could not be taken as any indication of guilt, 
but was merely a recognition of the palpable fact that 
the American habit of lynching had so whetted the 
thirst for black blood that a negro suspected of crime 
had to face at least the possibility of a short shrift and 
a long rope, not to mention more gruesome horrors, 
without the intervention of judge or jury. Since to 
have a black face at such a time was to challenge sus- 
picion, and since there was neither the martyr's glory 
nor the saint's renown in being killed for some one 
else's crime, and very little hope of successful resistance 
in case of an attempt at lynching, it was obviously the 
part of prudence for those thus marked to seek immun- 
ity in a temporary disappearance from public view. 



XXI 

THE NECESSITY OF AN EXAMPLE 

About ten o'clock on the morning of the discovery 
of the murder, Captain McBane and General Belmont, 
as though moved by a common impulse, found them- 
selves at the office of the Morning Chronicle. Car- 
teret was expecting them, though there had been 
no appointment made. These three resourceful and 
energetic minds, representing no organized body, and 
clothed with no legal authority, had so completely 
arrogated to themselves the leadership of white pub- 
lic sentiment as to come together instinctively when 
an event happened which concerned the public, and, 
as this murder presumably did, involved the matter of 
race. 

" Well, gentlemen," demanded McBane impatiently, 
" what are we going to do with the scoundrel when we 
catch him ? " 

" They 've got the murderer," announced a reporter, 
entering the room. 

" Who is he ? " they demanded in a breath. 

" A nigger by the name of Sandy Campbell, a ser- 
vant of old Mr. Delamere." 

" How did they catch him ? " 

" Our Jerry saw him last night, going toward Mrs. 
Ochiltree's house, and a white man saw him coming 
away, half an hour later." 

" Has he confessed ? " 



THE NECESSITY OF AN EXAMPLE 181 

" No, but he might as well. When the posse went 
to arrest him, they found him cleaning the clothes he 
had worn last night, and discovered in his room a 
part of the plunder. He denies it strenuously, but it 
seems a clear case." 

" There can be no doubt," said Ellis, who had come 
into the room behind the reporter. " I saw the negro 
last night, at twelve o'clock, going into Mr. Delamere's 
yard, with a bundle in his hand." 

" He is the last negro I should have suspected," 
said Carteret. " Mr. Delamere had implicit confi- 
dence in him." 

" All niggers are alike," remarked McBane senten- 
tiously. u The only way to keep them from stealing 
is not to give them the chance. A nigger will steal a 
cent off a dead man's eye. He has assaulted and 
murdered a white woman, — an example should be 
made of him." 

Carteret recalled very distinctly the presence of this 
negro at his own residence on the occasion of little 
Theodore's christening dinner. He remembered hav- 
ing questioned the prudence of letting a servant know 
that Mrs. Ochiltree kept money in the house. Mr. 
Delamere had insisted strenuously upon the honesty 
of this particular negro. The whole race, in the 
major's opinion, was morally undeveloped, and only 
held within bounds by the restraining influence of the 
white people. Under Mr. Delamere's thumb this 
Sandy had been a model servant, — faithful, docile, 
respectful, and self-respecting ; but Mr. Delamere 
had grown old, and had probably lost in a measure 
his moral influence over his servant. Left to his own 
degraded ancestral instincts, Sandy had begun to de- 
teriorate, and a rapid decline had culminated in this 



182 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

robbery and murder, — and who knew what other 
horror ? The criminal was a negro, the victim a white 
woman ; — it was only reasonable to expect the worst. 

" He '11 swing for it," observed the general. 

Ellis went into another room, where his duty called 
him. 

" He should burn for it," averred McBane. " I 
say, burn the nigger." 

" This," said Carteret, " is something more than an 
ordinary crime, to be dealt with by the ordinary pro- 
cesses of law. It is a murderous and fatal assault upon 
a woman of our race, — upon our race in the person 
of its womanhood, its crown and flower. If such 
crimes are not punished with swift and terrible direct- 
ness, the whole white womanhood of the South is in 
danger." 

" Burn the nigger," repeated McBane automati- 
cally. 

" Neither is this a mere sporadic crime," Carteret 
went on. " It is symptomatic ; it is the logical and 
inevitable result of the conditions which have pre- 
vailed in this town for the past year. It is the last 
straw." 

" Burn the nigger," reiterated McBane. " We 
seem to have the right nigger, but whether we have 
or not, burn a nigger. It is an assault upon the 
white race, in the person of old Mrs. Ochiltree, com- 
mitted by the black race, in the person of some nig- 
ger. It would justify the white people in burning 
any nigger. The example would be all the more 
powerful if we got the wrong one. It would serve 
notice on the niggers that we shall hold the whole 
race responsible for the misdeeds of each individual." 

" In ancient Konie," said the general, " when a 



THE NECESSITY OF AN EXAMPLE 183 

master was killed by a slave, all his slaves were put to 
the sword." 

" We could n't afford that before the war," said 
McBane, " but the niggers don't belong to any body- 
now, and there 's nothing to prevent our doing as we 
please with them. A dead nigger is no loss to any 
white man. I say, burn the nigger." 

" I do not believe," said Carteret, who had gone to 
the window and was looking out, — "I do not believe 
that we need trouble ourselves personally about his 
punishment. I should judge, from the commotion in 
the street, that the public will take the matter into its 
own hands. I, for one, would prefer that any vio- 
lence, however justifiable, should take place without 
my active intervention." 

" It won't take place without mine, if I know it," 
exclaimed McBane, starting for the door. 

" Hold on a minute, captain," exclaimed Carteret. 
" There 's more at stake in this matter than the life 
of a black scoundrel. Wellington is in the hands of 
negroes and scalawags. What better time to rescue 
it?" 

" It 's a trifle premature," replied the general. " I 
should have preferred to have this take place, if it 
was to happen, say three months hence, on the eve of 
the election, — but discussion always provokes thirst 
with me ; I wonder if I could get Jerry to bring us 
some drinks ? " 

Carteret summoned the porter. Jerry's usual man- 
ner had taken on an element of self-importance, 
resulting in what one might describe as a sort of con- 
descending obsequiousness. Though still a porter, he 
was also a hero, and wore his aureole. 

" Jerry," said the general kindly, " the white peo- 



184 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

pie are very much pleased with the assistance you have 
given them in apprehending this scoundrel Campbell. 
You have rendered a great public service, Jerry, and 
we wish you to know that it is appreciated." 

" Thank y', gin'l, thank y', snh ! I alluz tries ter 
do my duty, suh, an' stan' by dem dat stan's by me. 
Dat low-down nigger oughter be lynch', suh, don't 
you think, er e'se bu'nt ? Dere ain' nothin' too bad 
ter happen ter 'im." 

" No doubt he will be punished as he deserves, 
Jerry," returned the general, " and we will see that 
you are suitably rewarded. Go across the street and 
get me three Calhoun cocktails. I seem to have 
nothing less than a two-dollar bill, but you may keep 
the change, Jerry, — all the change." 

Jerry was very happy. He had distinguished him- 
self in the public view, for to Jerry, as to the white 
people themselves, the white people were the public. 
He had won the goodwill of the best people, and had 
already begun to reap a tangible reward. It is true 
that several strange white men looked at him with 
lowering brows as he crossed the street, which was 
curiously empty of colored people ; but he neverthe- 
less went firmly forward, panoplied in the conscious- 
ness of his own rectitude, and serenely confident of 
the protection of the major and the major's friends. 

" Jerry is about the only negro I have seen since 
nine o'clock," observed the general When the porter 
had gone. " If this were election day, where would 
the negro vote be ? " 

" In hiding, where most of the negro population is 
to-day," answered McBane. " It 's a pity, if old Mrs. 
Ochiltree had to go this way, that it could n't have 
been deferred a month or six weeks." 



THE NECESSITY OF AN EXAMPLE 185 

Carteret frowned at this remark, which, coming 
from McBane, seemed lacking in human feeling, as 
well as in respect to his wife's dead relative. 

"But," resumed the general, "if this negro is 
lynched, as he well deserves to be, it will not be with- 
out its effect. We still have in reserve for the elec- 
tion a weapon which this affair will only render more 
effective. What became of the piece in the negro 
paper ? " 

" I have it here," answered Carteret. " I was just 
about to use it as the text for an editorial." 

" Save it awhile longer," responded the general. 
"This crime itself will give you text enough for a 
four-volume work." 

When this conference ended, Carteret immediately 
put into press an extra edition of the Morning 
Chronicle, which was soon upon the streets, giving 
details of the crime, which was characterized as an 
atrocious assault upon a defenseless old lady, whose 
age and sex would have protected her from harm at 
the hands of any one but a brute in the lowest human 
form. This event, the Chronicle suggested, had only 
confirmed the opinion, which had been of late growing 
upon the white people, that drastic efforts were neces- 
sary to protect the white women of the South against 
brutal, lascivious, and murderous assaults at the hands 
of negro men. It was only another significant example 
of the results which might have been foreseen from 
the application of a false and pernicious political 
theory, by which ignorance, clothed in a little brief 
authority, was sought to be exalted over knowledge, 
vice over virtue, an inferior and degraded race above 
the heaven-crowned Anglo-Saxon. If an outraged 
people, justly infuriated, and impatient of the slow 



186 



THE MARROW OF TRADITION 



processes of the courts, should assert their inherent 
sovereignty, which the law after all was merely in- 
tended to embody, and should choose, in obedience to 
the higher law, to set aside, temporarily, the ordinary 
judicial procedure, it would serve as a warning and 
an example to the vicious elements of the community, 
of the swift and terrible punishment which would fall, 
like the judgment of God, upon any one who laid 
sacrilegious hands upon white womanhood. 



XXII 

HOW NOT TO PEEVENT A LYNCHING 

Dr. Miller, who had sat up late the night before 
with a difficult case at the hospital, was roused, about 
eleven o'clock, from a deep and dreamless sleep. 
Struggling back into consciousness, he was informed 
by his wife, who stood by his bedside, that Mr. Wat- 
son, the colored lawyer, wished to see him upon a 
matter of great importance. 

"Nothing but a matter of life and death would 
make me get up just now," he said with a portentous 
yawn. 

" This is a matter of life and death," replied Janet. 
" Old Mrs. Polly Ochiltree was robbed and murdered 
last night, and Sandy Campbell has been arrested for 
the crime, — and they are going to lynch him ! " 

" Tell Watson to come right up," exclaimed Miller, 
springing out of bed. " We can talk while I 'm 
dressing." 

While Miller made a hasty toilet Watson explained 
the situation. Campbell had been arrested on the 
charge of murder. He had been seen, during the 
night, in the neighborhood of the scene of the crime, 
by two different persons, a negro and a white man, 
and had been identified later while entering Mr. Dela- 
mere's house, where he lived, and where damning proofs 
of his guilt had been discovered ; the most important 
item of which was an old-fashioned knit silk purse, 



188 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

recognized as Mrs. Ochiltree's, and several gold pieces 
of early coinage, of which the murdered woman was 
known to have a number. Watson brought with him 
one of the first copies procurable of the extra edition 
of the Chrouicle, which contained these facts and 
further information. 

They were still talking when Mrs. Miller, knocking 
at the door, announced that big Josh Green wished 
to see the doctor about Sandy Campbell. Miller took 
his collar and necktie in his hand and went down- 
stairs, where Josh sat waiting. 

" Doctuh," said Green, " de w'ite folks is talkin' 
'bout lynchin' Sandy Campbell fer killin' ole Mis' 
Ochiltree. He never done it, an' dey ought n' ter be 
'lowed ter tynch 'im." 

" They ought not to lynch him, even if he com- 
mitted the crime," returned Miller, " but still less if 
he did n't. What do you know about it ? " 

" I know he was wid me, suh, las' night, at de time 
when dey say ole Mis' Ochiltree wuz killed. We wuz 
down ter Sam Taylor's place, havin' a little game of 
kyards an' a little liquor. Den we lef dere an' went 
up ez fur ez de corner er Main an' Vine Streets, 
where we pa'ted, an' Sandy went 'long to'ds home. 
Mo'over, dey say he had on check' britches an' a blue 
coat. When Sandy wuz wid me he had on gray clo's, 
an' when we sep'rated he wa'n't in no shape ter be 
changin' his clo's, let 'lone robbin' er killin' anybody." 

" Your testimony ought to prove an alibi for him," 
declared Miller. 

" Dere ain' gwine ter be no chance ter prove nothin', 
'less'n we kin do it mighty quick ! Dey say dey 're 
gwine ter lynch 'im ter-night, — some on 'em is 
talkin' 'bout burnin' 'im. My idee is ter hunt up de 



HOW NOT TO PREVENT A LYNCHING 189 

niggers an' git 'em ter stan' tergether an' gyard de 
jail." 

" Why should n't we go to the principal white people 
of the town and tell them Josh's story, and appeal to 
them to stop this thing until Campbell can have a 
hearing ? " 

" It would n't do any good," said Watson despond- 
ently ; " their blood is up. It seems that some colored 
man attacked Mrs. Ochiltree, — and he was a murder- 
ous villain, whoever he may be. To quote Josh would 
destroy the effect of his story, — we know he never 
harmed any one but himself " — 

" An' a few keerliss people w'at got in my way," 
corrected Josh. 

" He has been in court several times for fighting, 
— and that 's against him. To have been at Sam Tay- 
lor's place is against Sandy, too, rather than in his 
favor. No, Josh, the white people would believe that 
you were trying to shield Sandy, and you would prob- 
ably be arrested as an accomplice." 

" But look a-here, Mr. Watson, — Dr. Miller, is 
we-all jes' got ter set down here, widout openin' ou' 
mouths, an' let dese w'ite folks hang er bu'n a man 
w'at we know ain' guilty ? Dat ain't no law, ner 
jestice, ner nothin' ! Ef you-all won't he'p, I '11 do 
somethin' myse'f ! Dere 's two niggers ter one white 
man in dis town, an' I 'm sho' I kin fin' fifty of 'em 
w'at '11 fight, ef dey kin fin' anybody ter lead 'em." 

" Now hold on, Josh," argued Miller ; " what is to 
be gained by fighting ? Suppose you got your crowd 
together and surrounded the jail, — what then ? " 

" There 'd be a clash," declared Watson, " and in- 
stead of one dead negro there 'd be fifty. The white 
people are claiming now that Campbell did n't stop with 



190 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

robbery and murder. A special edition of the Morn- 
ing Chronicle, just out, suggests a further purpose, 
and has all the old shopworn cant about race purity 
and supremacy and imperative necessity, which always 
comes to the front whenever it is sought to justify 
some outrage on the colored folks. The blood of the 
whites is up, I tell you ! " 

" Is there anything to that suggestion ? " asked 
Miller incredulously. 

" It does n't matter whether there is or not," re- 
turned Watson. "Merely to suggest it proves it. 
Nothing was said about this feature until the paper 
came out, — and even its statement is vague and in- 
definite, — but now the claim is in every mouth. I 
met only black looks as I came down the street. 
White men with whom I have long been on friendly 
terms passed me without a word. A negro has been 
arrested on suspicion, — the entire race is condemned 
on general principles." 

" The whole thing is profoundly discouraging," said 
Miller sadly. " Try as we may to build up the race 
in the essentials of good citizenship and win the good 
opinion of the best people, some black scoundrel comes 
along, and by a single criminal act, committed in the 
twinkling of an eye, neutralizes the effect of a whole 
year's work." 

" It 's mighty easy neut'alize', er whatever you call 
it," said Josh sullenly. " De w'ite folks don' want too 
good an opinion er de niggers, — ef dey had a good 
opinion of 'em, dey would n' have no excuse fer 'busin' 
an' hangin' an' burnin' 'em. But ef dey can't keep from 
doin' it, let 'em git de right man ! Dis way er pickin' 
up de f us' nigger dey comes across, an' stringin' 'im up 
rega'dliss, ought ter be stop', an' stop' right now ! " 



HOW NOT TO PREVENT A LYNCHING 191 

" Yes, that 's the worst of lynch law," said Watson ; 
" but we are wasting valuable time, — it 's hardly- 
worth while for us to discuss a subject we are all 
agreed upon. One of our race, accused of certain 
acts, is about to be put to death without judge or jury, 
ostensibly because he committed a crime, — really 
because he is a negro, for if he were white he would 
not be lynched. It is thus made a race issue, on the 
one side as well as on the other. What can we do to 
protect him?" 

" We kin fight, ef we haf ter," replied Josh reso- 
lutely. 

" Well, now, let us see. Suppose the colored peo- 
ple armed themselves? Messages would at once be 
sent to every town and county in the neighborhood. 
White men from all over the state, armed to the 
teeth, would at the slightest word pour into town on 
every railroad train, and extras would be run for their 
benefit." 

44 They 're already coming in," said Watson. 

" We might go to the sheriff," suggested Miller, 
" and demand that he telegraph the governor to call 
out the militia." 

" I spoke to the sheriff an hour ago," replied Wat- 
son. " He has a white face and a whiter liver. He 
does not dare call out the militia to protect a negro 
charged with such a brutal crime ; — and if he did, the 
militia are white men, and who can say that their 
efforts would not be directed to keeping the negroes 
out of the way, in order that the white devils might 
do their worst ? The whole machinery of the state is 
in the hands of white men, elected partly by our votes. 
When the color line is drawn, if they choose to stand 
together with the rest of their race against us, or to 



192 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

remain passive and let the others work their will, we 
are helpless, — our cause is hopeless." 

" We might call on the general government," said 
Miller. " Surely the President would intervene." 

" Such a demand would be of no avail," returned 
Watson. " The government can only intervene under 
certain conditions, of which it must be informed 
through designated channels. It never sees anything 
that is not officially called to its attention. The whole 
negro population of the South might be slaughtered 
before the necessary red tape could be spun out to 
inform the President that a state of anarchy pre- 
vailed. There 's no hope there." 

" Den w'at we gwine ter do ? " demanded Josh in- 
dignantly ; " jes' set here an' let 'em hang Sandy, er 
bu'n'im?" 

" God knows ! " exclaimed Miller. " The outlook 
is dark, but we should at least try to do something. 
There must be some white men in the town who would 
stand for law and order, — there 's no possible chance 
for Sandy to escape hanging by due process of law, 
if he is guilty. We might at least try half a dozen 
gentlemen." 

" We 'd better leave Josh here," said Watson. 
" He 's too truculent. If he went on the street he 'd 
make trouble, and if he accompanied us he 'd do more 
harm than good. Wait for us here, Josh, until we 've 
seen what we can do. We '11 be back in half an 
hour." 

In half an hour they had both returned. 

" It 's no use," reported Watson gloomily. " I 
called at the mayor's office and found it locked. He 
is doubtless afraid on his own account, and would not 
dream of asserting his authority. I then looked up 



HOW NOT TO PREVENT A LYNCHING 193 

Judge Everton, who has always seemed to be fair. 
My reception was cold. He admitted that lynching 
was, as a rule, unjustifiable, but maintained that there 
were exceptions to all rules, — that laws were made, 
after all, to express the will of the people in regard to 
the ordinary administration of justice, but that in an 
emergency the sovereign people might assert itself 
and take the law into its own hands, — the creature 
was not greater than the creator. He laughed at my 
suggestion that Sandy was innocent. ' If he is inno- 
cent,' he said, ' then produce the real criminal. You 
negroes are standing in your own light when you try 
to protect such dastardly scoundrels as this Campbell, 
who is an enemy of society and not fit to live. I shall 
not move in the matter. If a negro wants the pro- 
tection of the law, let him obey the law.' A wise 
judge, — a second Daniel come to judgment ! If this 
were the law, there would be no ^need of judges or 
juries." 

" I called on Dr. Price," said Miller, " my good 
friend Dr. Price, who would rather lie than hurt my 
feelings. ' Miller,' he declared, 4 this is no affair of 
mine, or yours. I have too much respect for myself 
and my profession to interfere in such a matter, and 
you will accomplish nothing, and only lessen your own 
influence, by having anything to say.' ' But the man 
may be innocent,' I replied ; ' there is every reason to 
believe that he is.' He shook his head pityingly. 
4 You are self-deceived, Miller ; your prejudice has 
warped your judgment. The proof is overwhelming 
that he robbed this old lady, laid violent hands upon 
her, and left her dead. If he did no more, he has 
violated the written and unwritten law of the Southern 
States. I could not save him if I would, Miller, and 



194 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

frankly, I would not if I could. If he is innocent, 
his people can console themselves with the reflection 
that Mrs. Ochiltree was also innocent, and balance 
one crime against the other, the white against the 
black. Of course I shall take no part in whatever 
may be done, — but it is not my affair, nor yours. 
Take my advice, Miller, and keep out of it.' 

" That is the situation," added Miller, summing 
up. " Their friendship for us, a slender stream at the 
best, dries up entirely when it strikes their prejudices. 
There is seemingly not one white man in Wellington 
who will speak a word for law, order, decency, or 
humanity. Those who do not participate will stand 
idly by and see an untried man deliberately and 
brutally murdered. Race prejudice is the devil un- 
chained." 

" Well, den, suh," said Josh, " where does we stan' 
now ? W'at is we gwine ter do ? I would n' min' 
fightin', fer my time ain't come yit, — I feels dat in 
my bones. W'at we gwine ter do, dat 's w'at I wanter 
know." 

4 -' What does old Mr. Delamere have to say about 
the matter ? " asked Miller suddenly. " Why have n't 
we thought of him before? Has he been seen ? ' : 

"No," replied Watson gloomily, "and for a good 
reason, — he is not in town. I came by the house 
just now, and learned that he went out to his country 
place yesterday afternoon, to remain a week. Sandy 
was to have followed him out there this morning, — 
it 's a pity he did n't go yesterday. The old gentle- 
man has probably heard nothing about the matter." 

" How about young Delamere ? " 

" He went away early this morning, down the river, 
to fish. He '11 probably not hear of it before night, 



HOW NOT TO PREVENT A LYNCHING 195 

and he 's only a boy anyway, and could very likely 
do nothing," said Watson. 

Miller looked at his watch. 

" Belleview is ten miles away," he said. " It is 
now eleven o'clock. I can drive out there in an hour 
and a half at the farthest. I '11 go and see Mr. Dela- 
mere, — he can do more than any living man, if he 
is able to do anything at all. There 's never been a 
lynching here, and one good white man, if he choose, 
may stem the flood long enough to give justice a 
chance. Keep track of the white people while I'm 
gone, Watson ; and you, Josh, learn what the colored 
folks are saying, and do nothing rash until I return. 
In the meantime, do all that you can to find out who 
did commit this most atrocious murder." 



XXIII 

BELLEVIEW 

Miller did not reach his destination without in- 
terruption. At one point a considerable stretch of the 
road was under repair, which made it necessary for 
him to travel slowly. His horse cast a shoe, and 
threatened to go lame ; but in the course of time he 
arrived at the entrance gate of Belleview, entering 
which he struck into a private road, bordered by mas- 
sive oaks, whose multitudinous branches, hung with 
long streamers of trailing moss, formed for much of 
the way a thick canopy above his head. It took him 
only a few minutes to traverse the quarter of a mile 
that lay between the entrance gate and the house 
itself. 

This old colonial plantation, rich in legendary lore 
and replete with historic distinction, had been in the 
Delamere family for nearly two hundred years. Along 
the bank of the river which skirted its domain the 
famous pirate Blackbeard had held high carnival, 
and was reputed to have buried much treasure, vague 
traditions of which still lingered among the negroes 
and poor-whites of the country roundabout. The 
beautiful residence, rising white and stately in a grove 
of ancient oaks, dated from 1750, and was built of 
brick which had been brought from England. En- 
larged and improved from generation to generation, 
it stood, like a baronial castle, upon a slight eminence 



BELLEVIEW 197 

from which could be surveyed the large demesne still 
belonging- to the estate, which had shrunk greatly 
from its colonial dimensions. While still embracing 
several thousand acres, part forest and part cleared 
land, it had not of late years been profitable ; in spite 
of which Mr. Delamere, with the conservatism of his 
age and caste, had never been able to make up his 
mind to part with any considerable portion of it. His 
grandson, he imagined, could make the estate pay 
and yet preserve it in its integrity. Here, in pleasant 
weather, surrounded by the scenes which he loved, 
old Mr. Delamere spent much of the time during his 
declining years. 

Dr. Miller had once passed a day at Belleview, 
upon Mr. Delamere's invitation. For this old-fash- 
ioned gentleman, whose ideals not even slavery had 
been able to spoil, regarded himself as a trustee for 
the great public, which ought, in his opinion, to take 
as much pride as he in the contemplation of this his- 
toric landmark. In earlier years Mr. Delamere had 
been a practicing lawyer, and had numbered Miller's 
father among his clients. He had always been re- 
garded as friendly to the colored people, and, until 
age and ill health had driven him from active life, 
had taken a lively interest in their advancement since 
the abolition of slavery. Upon the public opening 
of Miller's new hospital, he had made an effort to 
be present, and had made a little speech of approval 
and encouragement which had manifested his kindli- 
ness and given Miller much pleasure. 

It was with the consciousness, therefore, that he was 
approaching a friend, as well as Sandy's master, that 
Miller's mind was chiefly occupied as his tired horse, 
scenting the end of his efforts, bore him with a final 



198 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

burst of speed along the last few rods of the journey ; 
for the urgency of Miller's errand, involving as it did 
the issues of life and death, did not permit him to 
enjoy the charm of mossy oak or forest reaches, or 
even to appreciate the noble front of Belle view House 
when it at last loomed up before him. 

" Well, William," said Mr. Delamere, as he gave 
his hand to Miller from the armchair in which he was 
seated under the broad and stately portico, " I did n't 
expect to see you out here. You '11 excuse my not 
rising, — I 'm none too firm on my legs. Did you see 
anything of my man Sandy back there on the road ? 
He ought to have been here by nine o'clock, and it 's 
now one. Sandy is punctuality itself, and I don't 
know how to account for his delay." 

Clearly there need be no time wasted in prelimi- 
naries. Mr. Delamere had gone directly to the sub- 
ject in hand. 

" He will not be here to-day, sir," replied Miller. 
" I have come to you on his account." 

In a few words Miller stated the situation. 

" Preposterous ! ' : exclaimed the old gentleman, 
with more vigor than Miller had supposed him to 
possess. " Sandy is absolutely incapable of such a 
crime as robbery, to say nothing of murder ; and as 
for the rest, that is absurd upon the face of it ! And 
so the poor old woman is dead ! Well, well, well ! 
she could not have lived much longer anyway ; but 
Sandy did not kill her, — it's simply impossible ! 
Why, / raised that boy ! He was born on my place. 
I 'd as soon believe such a thing of my own grandson 
as of Sandy ! No negro raised by a Delamere would 
ever commit such a crime. I really believe, William, 
that Sandy has the family honor of the Delameres 



BELLEVIEW 199 

quite as much at heart as I have. Just tell them I 
say Sandy is innocent, and it will be all right." 

"I'm afraid, sir," rejoined Miller, who kept his 
voice up so that the old gentleman could understand 
without having it suggested that Miller knew he was 
hard of hearing, " that you don't quite appreciate 
the situation. / believe Sandy innocent ; you be- 
lieve him innocent ; but there are suspicious circum- 
stances which do not explain themselves, and the 
white people of the city believe him guilty, and are 
going to lynch him before he has a chance to clear 
himself." 

" Why does n't he explain the suspicious circum- 
stances ? " asked Mr. Delamere. " Sandy is truthful 
and can be believed. I would take Sandy's word as 
quickly as another man's oath." 

" He has no chance to explain," said Miller. " The 
case is prejudged. A crime has been committed. 
Sandy is charged with it. He is black, and therefore 
he is guilty. No colored lawyer would be allowed in 
the jail, if one should dare to go there. No white 
lawyer will intervene. He '11 be lynched to-night, 
without judge, jury, or preacher, unless we can stave 
the thing off for a day or two." 

" Have you seen my grandson ? " asked the old 
gentleman. " Is he not looking after Sandy ? " 

" No, sir. It seems he went down the river this 
morning to fish, before the murder was discovered ; 
no one knows just where he has gone, or at what hour 
he will return." 

" Well, then," said Mr. Delamere, rising from his 
chair with surprising vigor, " I shall have to go my- 
self. No faithful servant of mine shall be hanged for 
a crime he did n't commit, so long as I have a voice 



200 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

to speak or a dollar to spend. There '11 be no trouble 
after I get there, William. The people are naturally 
wrought up at such a crime. A fine old woman, — 
she had some detestable traits, and I was always 
afraid she wanted to marry me, but she was of an 
excellent family and had many good points, — an old 
woman of one of the best families, struck down 
by the hand, of a murderer ! You must remember, 
William, that blood is thicker than water, and that 
the provocation is extreme, and that a few hotheads 
might easily lose sight of the great principles involved 
and seek immediate vengeance, without too much dis- 
crimination. But they are good people, William, and 
when I have spoken, and they have an opportunity for 
the sober second thought, they will do nothing rashly, 
but will wait for the operation of the law, which will, 
of course, clear Sandy." 

" I 'm sure I hope so," returned Miller. " Shall I 
try to drive you back, sir, or will you order your own 



carriage 



?" 



" My horses are fresher, William, and I '11 have 
them brought around. You can take the reins, if you 
will, — I 'm rather old to drive, — and my man will 
come behind with your buggy." 

In a few minutes they set out along the sandy road. 
Having two fresh horses, they made better headway 
than Miller had made coming out, and reached Wel- 
lington easily by three o'clock. 

" I think, William," said Mr. Delamere, as they 
drove into the town, " that I had first better talk with 
Sandy. He may be able to explain away the things 
that seem to connect him with this atrocious affair ; 
and that will put me in a better position to talk to 
other people about it." 



BELLEVIEW 201 

Miller drove directly to the county jail. Thirty 
or forty white men, who seemed to be casually gath- 
ered near the door, closed up when the carriage 
approached. The sheriff, who had seen them from the 
inside, came to the outer door and spoke to the visitor 
through a grated wicket. 

" Mr. Wemyss," said Mr. Delamere, when he had 
made his way to the entrance with the aid of his 
cane, " I wish to see my servant, Sandy Campbell, 
who is said to be in your custody." 

The sheriff hesitated. Meantime there was some 
parleying in low tones among the crowd outside. No 
one interfered, however, and in a moment the door 
opened sufficiently to give entrance to the old gentle- 
man, after which it closed quickly and clangorously 
behind him. 

Feeling no desire to linger in the locality, Miller, 
having seen his companion enter the jail, drove the 
carriage round to Mr. Delamere's house, and leaving 
it in charge of a servant with instructions to return 
for his master in a quarter of an hour, hastened to 
his own home to meet Watson and Josh and report 
the result of his efforts. 



XXIV 

TWO SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 

The iron bolt rattled in the lock, the door of a cell 
swung open, and when Mr. Delamere had entered 
was quickly closed again. 

« Well, Sandy ! " 

" Oh, Mars John ! Is you fell from hebben ter he'p 
me out er here ? I prayed de Lawd ter sen' you, an' 
He answered my prayer, an' here you is, Mars John, 
— here you is ! Oh, Mars John, git me out er dis 
place ! " 

" Tut, tut, Sandy ! v answered his master ; " of 
course I '11 get you out. That 's what I 've come for. 
How in the world did such a mistake ever happen ? 
You would no more commit such a crime than I 
would ! " 

"No, suh, 'deed I would n', an' you know I would n' ! 
I would n' want ter bring no disgrace on de fam'ly 
dat raise' me, ner ter make no trouble fer you, suh ; 
but here I is, suh, lock' up in jail, an' folks talkin' 
'bout hangin' me fer somethin' dat never entered 
my min', suh. I swea' ter God I never thought er 
sech a thing ! " 

" Of course you did n't, Sandy," returned Mr. 
Delamere soothingly ; " and now the next thing, and 
the simplest . thing, is to get you out of this. I '11 
speak to the officers, and at the preliminary hearing 
to-morrow I '11 tell them all about you, and they will 



TWO SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 203 

let you go. You won't mind spending one night in 
jail for your sins." 

" No, suh, ef I wuz sho' I 'd be 'lowed ter spen' it 
here. But dey say dey 're gwine ter lynch me ter- 
night, — I kin hear 'em talkin' f 'm de winders er de 
cell, suh." 

44 Well, / say, Sandy, that they shall do no such 
thing ! Lynch a man brought up by a Delamere, for 
a crime of which he is innocent ? Preposterous ! I '11 
speak to the authorities and see that you are properly 
protected until this mystery is unraveled. If Tom 
had been here, he would have had you out before 
now, Sandy. My grandson is a genuine Delamere, is 
he not, Sandy ? " 

" Yas, suh, yas, suh," returned Sandy, with a lack 
of enthusiasm which he tried to conceal from his mas- 
ter. u An' I s'pose ef he had n' gone fishin' so soon 
dis mawnin', he 'd 'a' be'n lookin' after me, suh." 

" It has been my love for him and your care of me, 
Sandy," said the old gentleman tremulously, " that 
have kept me alive so long ; but now explain to me 
everything concerning this distressing matter, and I 
shall then be able to state your case to better advan- 
tage." 

44 Well, suh," returned Sandy, 44 1 mought 's well 
tell de whole tale an' not hoi' nothin' back. I wuz 
kind er lonesome las' night, an' sence I be'n tu'ned 
outen de chu'ch on account er dat cakewalk I did n' 
go ter, so he'p me God ! I did n' feel like gwine ter 
prayer-meetin', so I went roun' ter see Solomon Wil- 
liams, an' he wa'n't home, an' den I walk' down street 
an' met Josh Green, an' he ax' me inter Sam Tay- 
lor's place, an' I sot roun' dere wid Josh till 'bout 
'leven o'clock, w'en I sta'ted back home. I went 



204 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

straight ter de house, suh, an' went ter bed an' ter 
sleep widout sayin' a wo'd ter a single soul excep' 
Mistuh Tom, who wuz settin' up readin' a book w'en 
I come in. I wish I may drap dead in my tracks, suh, 
ef dat ain't de God's truf, suh, eve'y wo'd of it ! " 

" I believe every word of it, Sandy ; now tell me 
about the clothes that you are said to have been found 
cleaning, and the suspicious articles that were found 
in your room ? " 

" Dat 's w'at beats me, Mars John," replied Sandy, 
shaking his head mournfully. " W'en I lef home 
las' night after supper, my clo's wuz all put erway in 
de closet in my room, folded up on de she'f ter keep 
de moths out. Dey wuz my good clo's, — de blue coat 
dat you wo' ter de weddin' fo'ty 3 T ears ago, an' dem 
dere plaid pants I gun Mistuh Cohen fo' dollars fer 
three years ago ; an' w'en I looked in my closet dis 
mawnin', suh, befo' I got ready ter sta't fer Belle view, 
dere wuz my clo's layin' on de flo', all muddy an' 
crumple' up, des lack somebody had wo' 'em in a 
fight ! Somebody e'se had wo' my clo's, — er e'se 
dere 'd be'n some witchcraf, er some sort er devil- 
ment gwine on dat I can't make out, suh, ter save my 
soul ! " 

" There was no witchcraft, Sandy, but that there 
was some deviltry might well be. Now, what other 
negro, who might have been mistaken for you, could 
have taken your clothes ? Surely no one about the 
house ? " 

" No, suh, no, suh. It could n't 'a' be'n Jeff, fer 
he wuz at Belleview wid you ; an' it could n't 'a' be'n 
Billy, fer he wuz too little ter wear my clo's ; an' it 
could n't 'a' be'n Sally, fer she 's a 'oman. It 's a 
myst'ry ter me, suh ! " 



TWO SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 205 

" Have you no enemies ? Is there any one in Wel- 
lington whom you imagine would like to do you an 
injury ? 

" Not a livin' soul dat I knows of, suh. I 've be'n 
tu'ned out'n de chu'ch, but I don' know who my 
enemy is dere, er ef it wuz all a mistake, like dis yer 
jailin' is ; but de Debbil is in dis somewhar, Mars 
John, — an' I got my reasons fer sayin' so." 

" What do you mean, Sandy ? " 

Sandy related his experience of the preceding even- 
ing : how he had seen the apparition preceding him to 
the house, and how he had questioned Tom upon the 
subject. 

" There 's some mystery here, Sandy," said Mr. 
Delamere reflectively. " Have you told me all, now, 
upon your honor? I am trying to save your life, 
Sandy, and I must be able to trust your word im- 
plicitly. You must tell me every circumstance ; a 
very little and seemingly unimportant bit of evidence 
may sometimes determine the issue of a great lawsuit. 
There is one thing especially, Sandy : where did you 
get the gold which was found in your trunk? " 

Sandy's face lit up with hopefulness. 

" Why, Mars John, I kin 'splain dat part easy. 
Dat wuz money I had lent out, an' I got back f'm — 
But no, suh, I promise' not ter tell." 

" Circumstances absolve you from your promise, 
Sandy. Your life is of more value to you than any 
other thing. If you will explain where you got the 
gold, and the silk purse that contained it, which is 
said to be Mrs. Ochiltree's, you will be back home 
before night." 

Old Mr. Delamere's faculties, which had been wan- 
ing somewhat in sympathy with his health, were 



206 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

stirred to unusual acuteness by his servant's danger. 
He was watching Sandy with all the awakened in- 
stincts of the trial lawyer. He could see clearly 
enough that, in beginning to account for the posses- 
sion of the gold, Sandy had started off with his ex- 
planation in all sincerity. At the mention of the silk 
purse, however, his face had blanched to an ashen 
gray, and the words had frozen upon his lips. 

A less discerning observer might have taken these 
things as signs of guilt, but not so Mr. Delamere. 

" Well, Sandy," said his master encouragingly, 
" go on. You got the gold from " — 

Sandy remained silent. He had had a great shock, 
and had taken a great resolution. 

" Mars John," he asked dreamily, " you don' 
b'lieve dat I done dis thing ? " 

" Certainly not, Sandy, else why should I be here ? " 

" An' nothin' would n' make you b'lieve it, suh ? " 

" No, Sandy, — I could not believe it of you. I 've 
known you too long and too well." 

" An' you would n' b'lieve it, not even ef I would n' 
say one wo'd mo' about it? " 

" No, Sandy, I believe you no more capable of this 
crime than I would be, — or my grandson, Tom. I 
wish Tom were here, that he might help me over- 
come your stubbornness ; but you '11 not be so fool- 
ish, so absurdly foolish, Sandy, as to keep silent and 
risk your life merely to shield some one else, when 
by speaking you might clear up this n^stery and be 
restored at once to liberty. Just tell me where you 
got the gold," added the old gentleman persuasively. 
" Come, now, Sandy, that 's a good fellow ! ' 

" Mars John," asked Sandy softly, " w'en my 
daddy, 'way back yander befo' de wah, wuz about ter 



TWO SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 207 

be sol' away f'm his wife an' ehild'en, you bought him 
an' dem, an' kep' us all on yo' place tergether, did n't 
you, suh ? " 

44 Yes, Sandy, and he was a faithful servant, and 
proved worthy of all I did for him." 

44 And w'en he had wo'ked fer you ten years, suh, 
you sot 'im free ? " 

44 Yes, Sandy, he had earned his freedom." 

44 An' w'en de wah broke out, an' my folks wuz 
scattered, an' I did n' have nothin' ter do ner nowhar 
ter go, you kep' me on yo' place, and tuck me ter wait 
on you, suh, did n't you ? " 

44 Yes, Sandy, and you have been a good servant 
and a good friend ; but tell me now about this gold, 
and I '11 go and get you out of this, right away, for 
I need you, Sandy, and you '11 not be of any use to 
me shut up here ! " 

44 Jes' hoi' on a minute befo' you go, Mars John ; 
fer ef dem people outside should git holt er me befo' 
you does git me out er here, I may never see you no 
mo', suh, in dis worl'. Wen Mars Billy McLean 
shot me by mistake, w'ile we wuz out huntin' dat day, 
who wuz it boun' up my woun's an' kep' me from 
bleedin' ter def, an' kyar'ed me two miles on his own 
shoulders ter a doctuh ? " 

44 Yes, Sandy, and when black Sally ran away with 
your young mistress and Tom, when Tom was a baby, 
who stopped the runaway, and saved their lives at the 
risk of his own ? " 

44 Dat wa'n't nothin', suh ; anybody could 'a' done 
dat, w'at wuz strong ernuff an' swif ernuff. You is 
be'n good ter me, suh, all dese years, an' I 've tried ter 
do my duty by you, suh, an' by Mistuh Tom, who wuz 
yo' own gran'son, an' de las' one er de fam'ly." 



208 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Yes, you have, Sandy, and when I am gone, which 
will not be very long, Tom will take care of you, and 
see that you never want. But we are wasting valua- 
ble time, Sandy, in these old reminiscences. Let us 
get back to the present. Tell me about the gold, now, 
so that I may at once look after your safety. It may 
not even be necessary for you to remain here all 
night." 

" Jes' one wo'd mo', Mars John, befo' you go ! I 
know you 're gwine ter do de bes' you kin fer me, an' 
I 'm sorry I can't he'p you no mo' wid it ; but ef dere 
should be any accident, er ef you can't git me out er 
here, don' bother yo' min' 'bout it no mo', suh, an' 
don' git yo'se'f ixcited, fer you know de doctuh says, 
suh, dat you can't stan' ixcitement ; but jes' leave me 
in de han's er de Lawd, suh, — He '11 look after me, 
here er hereafter. I know I 've fell f 'm grace mo' d'n 
once, but I 've done made my peace wid Him in dis 
here jail-house, suh, an' I ain't 'feared ter die — ef I 
haf ter. I ain' got no wife ner child'n ter mo'n fer 
me, an' I '11 die knowin' dat I 've done my duty ter 
dem dat hi'ed me, an' trusted me, an' had claims on 
me. Fer I wuz raise' by a Delamere, suh, an' all de 
ole Delameres wuz gent'emen, an' deir principles 
spread ter de niggers 'round 'em, suh ; an' ef I has 
ter die fer somethin' I did n' do, — I kin die, suh, like 
a gent'eman ! But ez fer dat gol', suh, I ain' gwine 
ter say one wo'd mo' 'bout it ter nobody in dis 
worl' ! " 

Nothing could shake Sandy's determination. Mr. 
Delamere argued, expostulated, but all in vain. Sandy 
would not speak. 

More and more confident of some mystery, which 
would come out in time, if properly investigated, Mr. 



TWO SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 209 

Delamere, strangely beset by a vague sense of dis- 
comfort over and beyond that occasioned by his ser- 
vant's danger, hurried away upon his errand of mercy. 
He felt less confident of the outcome than when he 
had entered the jail, but was quite as much resolved 
that no effort should be spared to secure protection 
for Sandy until there had been full opportunity for 
the truth to become known. 

" Take good care of your prisoner, sheriff," he said 
sternly, as he was conducted to the door. " He will 
not be long in your custody, and I shall see that you 
are held strictly accountable for his safety." 

" I '11 do what I can, sir," replied the sheriff in an 
even tone and seemingly not greatly impressed by this 
warning. " If the prisoner is taken from me, it will 
be because the force that comes for him is too strong 
for resistance." 

" There should be no force too strong for an honest 
man in your position to resist, — whether successfully 
or not is beyond the question. The officer who is in- 
timidated by threats, or by his own fears, is recreant to 
his duty, and no better than the mob which threatens 
him. But you will have no such test, Mr. Wemyss ! 
I shall see to it myself that there is no violence ! " 



XXV 

THE HONOK OF A FAMILY 

Mr. Delamere's coachman, who, in accordance 
with instructions left by Miller, had brought the car- 
riage around to the jail and was waiting anxiously at 
the nearest corner, drove up with some trepidation as 
he saw his master emerge from the prison. The old 
gentleman entered the carriage and gave the order 
to be driven to the office of the Morning Chronicle. 
According to Jerry, the porter, whom he encountered 
at the door, Carteret was in his office, and Mr. Dela- 
mere, with the aid of his servant, climbed the stairs 
painfully and found the editor at his desk. 

" Carteret," exclaimed Mr. Delamere, "what is all 
this talk about lynching my man for murder and rob- 
bery and criminal assault ? It 's perfectly absurd ! 
The man was raised by me ; he has lived in my house 
forty years. He has been honest, faithful, and trust- 
worthy. He would no more be capable of this crime 
than you would, or my grandson Tom. Sandy has 
too much respect for the family to do anything that 
would reflect disgrace upon it." 

" My dear Mr. Delamere," asked Carteret, with an 
indulgent smile, " how could a negro possibly reflect 
discredit upon a white family ? I should really like 
to know." 

" How, sir ? A white family raised him. Like all 
the negroes, he has been clay in the hands of the 



THE HONOR OF A FAMILY 211 

white people. They are what we have made them, 
or permitted them to become." 

" We are not God, Mr. Delamere ! We do not 
claim to have created these — masterpieces." 

" No ; but we thought to overrule God's laws, and 
we enslaved these people for our greed, and sought 
to escape the manstealer's curse by laying to our souls 
the flattering unction that we were making of bar- 
barous negroes civilized and Christian men. If we 
did not, if instead of making them Christians we have 
made some of them brutes, we have only ourselves 
to blame, and if these prey upon society, it is our just 
punishment ! But my negroes, Carteret, were well 
raised and well behaved. This man is innocent of 
this offense, I solemnly affirm, and I want your aid 
to secure his safety until a fair trial can be had." 

" On your bare word, sir? " asked Carteret, not at 
all moved by this outburst. 

Old Mr. Delamere trembled with anger, and his 
withered cheek flushed darkly, but he restrained 
his feelings, and answered with an attempt at calm- 
ness : — 

" Time was, sir, when the word of a Delamere was 
held as good as his bond, and those who questioned 
it were forced to maintain their skepticism upon 
the field of honor. Time was, sir, when the law was 
enforced in this state in a manner to command the 
respect of the world ! Our lawyers, our judges, our 
courts, were a credit to humanity and civilization. I 
fear I have outlasted my epoch, — I have lived to hear 
of white men, the most favored of races, the heirs of 
civilization, the conservators of libertv, howling 1 like 
red Indians around a human being slowly roasting 
at the stake." 



212 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

"My dear sir," said Carteret soothingly, "you 
should undeceive yourself. This man is no longer your 
property. The negroes are no longer under our con- 
trol, and with their emancipation ceased our responsi- 
bility. Their insolence and disregard for law have 
reached a point where they must be sternly rebuked.'' 

" The law," retorted Mr. Delamere, " furnishes a 
sufficient penalty for any crime, however heinous, 
and our code is by no means lenient. To my old- 
fashioned notions, death would seem an adequate pun- 
ishment for any crime, and torture has been abolished 
in civilized countries for a hundred years. It would 
be better to let a crime go entirely unpunished, than to 
use it as a pretext for turning the whole white popula- 
tion into a mob of primitive savages, dancing in hellish 
glee around the mangled body of a man who has never 
been tried for a crime. All this, however, is apart 
from my errand, which is to secure your assistance in 
heading off this mob until Sandy can have a fair hear- 
ing and an opportunity to prove his innocence." 

" How can I do that, Mr. Delamere ? " 

" You are editor of the Morning Chronicle. The 
Chronicle is the leading newspaper of the city. This 
morning's issue practically suggested the mob ; the 
same means will stop it. I will pay the expense of an 
extra edition, calling off the mob, on the ground that 
newly discovered evidence has shown the prisoner's 
innocence." 

" But where is the evidence?" asked Carteret. 

Again Mr. Delamere flushed and trembled. " My 
evidence, sir ! I say the negro was morally incapable 
of the crime. A man of forty-five does not change 
his nature over-night. He is no more capable of a 
disgraceful deed than my grandson would be ! " 



THE HONOR OF A FAMILY 213 

Carteret smiled sadly. 

"I am sorry, Mr. Delamere," he said, "that you 
should permit yourself to be so exercised about a 
worthless scoundrel who has forfeited his right to live. 
The proof against him is overwhelming. As to his 
capability of crime, we will apply your own test. You 
have been kept in the dark too long, Mr. Delamere, 
— indeed, we all have, — about others as well as this 
negro. Listen, sir : last night, at the Clarendon Club, 
Tom Delamere was caught cheating outrageously at 
cards. He had been suspected for some time ; a trap 
was laid for him, and he fell into it. Out of regard 
for you and for my family, he has been permitted to 
resign quietly, with the understanding that he first pay 
off his debts, which are considerable." 

Mr. Delamere' s face, which had taken on some color 
in the excitement of the interview, had gradually paled 
to a chalky white while Carteret was speaking. His 
head sunk forward ; already an old man, he seemed to 
have aged ten years in but little more than as many 
seconds. 

" Can this be true ? " he demanded in a hoarse 
whisper. " Is it — entirely authentic ? " 

" True as gospel ; true as it is that Mrs. Ochiltree 
has been murdered, and that this negro killed her. 
Ellis was at the club a few minutes after the affair 
happened, and learned the facts from one of the 
participants. Tom made no attempt at denial. We 
have kept the matter out of the other papers, and I 
would have spared your feelings, — I surely would not 
wish to wound them, — but the temptation proved too 
strong for me, and it seemed the only way to convince 
you : it was your own test. If a gentleman of a dis- 
tinguished name and an honorable ancestry, with all 



214 THE MARROW OF TRADITION. 

the restraining forces of social position surrounding 
him, to hold him in check, can stoop to dishonor, 
what is the improbability of an illiterate negro's being 
at least capable of crime?" 

" Enough, sir," said the old gentleman. " You have 
proved enough. My grandson may be a scoundrel, — 
I can see, in the light of this revelation, how he might 
be ; and he seems not to have denied it. I maintain, 
nevertheless, that my man Sandy is innocent of the 
charge against him. He has denied it, and it has not 
been proved. Carteret, I owe that negro my life ; he, 
and his father before him, have served me and mine 
faithfully and well. I cannot see him killed like a 
dog, without judge or jury, — no, not even if he were 
guilty, which I do not believe ! " 

Carteret felt a twinge of remorse for the pain he 
had inflicted upon this fine old man, this ideal gentle- 
man of the ideal past, — the past which he himself so 
much admired and regretted. He would like to spare 
his old friend any further agitation ; he was in a state 
of health where too great excitement might prove fatal. 
But how could he ? The negro was guilty, and sure to 
die sooner or later. He had not meant to interfere, 
and his intervention might be fruitless. 

" Mr. Delamere," he said gently, " there is but one 
way to gain time. You say the negro is innocent. 
Appearances are against him. The only way to clear 
him is to produce the real criminal, or prove an alibi. 
If you, or some other white man of equal standing, 
could swear that the negro was in your presence last 
night at any hour when this crime could have taken 
place, it might be barely possible to prevent the lynch- 
ing for the present ; and when he is tried, which will 
probably be not later than next week, he will have 



THE HONOR OF A FAMILY 215 

every opportunity to defend himself, with you to see 
that he gets no less than justice. I think it can be 
managed, though there is still a doubt. I will do my 
best, for your sake, Mr. Delamere, — solely for your 
sake, be it understood, and not for that of the negro, 
in whom you are entirely deceived." 

" I shall not examine your motives, Carteret," 
replied the other, " if you can bring about what I 
desire." 

" Whatever is done," added Carteret, " must be 
done quickly. It is now four o'clock ; no one can 
answer for what may happen after seven. If he can 
prove an alibi, there may yet be time to save him. 
White men might lynch a negro on suspicion ; they 
would not kill a man who was proven, by the word of 
white men, to be entirely innocent." 

" I do not know," returned Mr. Delamere, shaking 
his head sadly. " After what you have told me, it is 
no longer safe to assume what white men will or will 
not do ; — what I have learned here has shaken my 
faith in humanity. I am going away, but shall return 
in a short time. Shall I find you here ? " 

" I will await your return," said Carteret. 

He watched Mr. Delamere pityingly as the old man 
moved away on the arm of the coachman waiting in 
the hall. He did not believe that Mr. Delamere could 
prove an alibi for his servant, and without some posi- 
tive proof the negro would surely die, — as he well 
deserved to die. 



XXVI 

THE DISCOMFORT OF ELLIS 

Mr. Ellis was vaguely uncomfortable. In the first 
excitement following the discovery of the crime, he 
had given his bit of evidence, and had shared the 
universal indignation against the murderer. When 
public feeling took definite shape in the intention to 
lynch the prisoner, Ellis felt a sudden sense of re- 
sponsibility growing upon himself. When he learned, 
an hour later, that it was proposed to burn the negro, 
his part in the affair assumed a still graver aspect ; 
for his had been the final word to &x the prisoner's 
guilt. 

Ellis did not believe in lynch law. He had argued 
against it, more than once, in private conversation, and 
had written several editorials against the practice, while 
in charge of the Morning Chronicle during Major Car- 
teret's absence. A young man, however, and merely 
representing another, he had not set up as a reformer, 
taking rather the view that this summary method of 
punishing crime, with all its possibilities of error, to 
say nothing of the resulting disrespect of the law and 
contempt for the time-honored methods of establishing 
guilt, was a mere temporary symptom of the unrest 
caused by the unsettled relations of the two races at 
the South. There had never before been any special 
need for any vigorous opposition to lynch law, so far as 
the community was concerned, for there had not been 



THE DISCOMFORT OF ELLIS 217 

a lynching in Wellington since Ellis had come there, 
eight years before, from a smaller town, to seek a 
place for himself in the world of action. Twenty 
years before, indeed, there had been wild doings, 
during the brief Ku-Klux outbreak, but that was 
before Ellis's time, — or at least when he was but a 
child. He had come of a Quaker family, — the 
modified Quakers of the South, — and while sharing 
in a general way the Southern prejudice against the 
negro, his prejudices had been tempered by the peace- 
ful tenets of his father's sect. His father had been a 
Whig, and a non-slaveholder ; and while he had gone 
with the South in the civil war so far as a man of 
peace could go, he had not done so for love of slavery. 
As the day wore on, Ellis's personal responsibility 
for the intended auto-da-fe bore more heavily upon 
him. Suppose he had been wrong ? He had seen the 
accused negro ; he had recognized him by his clothes, 
his whiskers, his spectacles, and his walk ; but he had 
also seen another man, who resembled Sandy so closely 
that but for the difference in their clothes, he was 
forced to acknowledge, he could not have told them 
apart. Had he not seen the first man, he would have 
sworn with even greater confidence that the second 
was Sandy. There had been, he recalled, about one of 
the men — he had not been then nor was he now able 
to tell which — something vaguely familiar, and yet 
seemingly discordant to whichever of the two it was, 
or, as it seemed to him now, to any man of that race. 
His mind reverted to the place where he had last seen 
Sandy, and then a sudden wave of illumination swept 
over him, and filled him with a thrill of horror. 
The Cakewalk, — the dancing, — the speech, — they 
were not Sandy's at all, nor any negro's ! It was a 



218 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

white man who had stood in the light of the street 
lamp, so that the casual passer-by might see and re- 
cognize in him old Mr. Delamere's servant. The 
scheme was a dastardly one, and worthy of a heart 
that was something worse than weak and vicious. 

Ellis resolved that the negro should not, if he could 
prevent it, die for another's crime ; but what proof 
had he himself to offer in support of his theory? 
Then again, if he denounced Tom Delamere as the 
murderer, it would involve, in all probability, the 
destruction of his own hopes with regard to Clara. 
Of course she could not marry Delamere after the dis- 
closure, — the disgraceful episode at the club would 
have been enough to make that reasonably certain ; 
it had put a nail in Delamere's coffin, but this crime 
had driven it in to the head and clinched it. On 
the other hand, would Miss Pemberton ever speak 
again to the man who had been the instrument of 
bringing disgrace upon the family ? Spies, detectives, 
police officers, may be useful citizens, but they are 
rarely pleasant company for other people. We fee 
the executioner, but we do not touch his bloody hand. 
We might feel a certain tragic admiration for Brutus 
condemning his sons to death, but we would scarcely 
invite Brutus to dinner after the event. It would 
harrow our feelings too much. 

Perhaps, thought Ellis, there might be a way out 
of the dilemma. It might be possible to save this 
innocent negro without, for the time being, involving 
Delamere. He believed that murder will out, but it 
need not be through his initiative. He determined to 
go to the jail and interview the prisoner, who might 
give such an account of himself as would establish his 
innocence beyond a doubt. If so, Ellis would exert 



THE DISCOMFORT OF ELLIS 219 

himself to stem the tide of popular fury. If, as a last 
resort, he could save Sandy only by denouncing Dela- 
mere, he would do his duty, let it cost him what it 
might. 

The gravity of his errand was not lessened by 
what he saw and heard on the way to the jail. The 
anger of the people was at a white heat. A white 
woman had been assaulted and murdered by a brutal 
negro. Neither advanced age, nor high social stand- 
ing, had been able to protect her from the ferocity of 
a black savage. Her sex, which should have been her 
shield and buckler, had made her an easy mark for 
the villainy of a black brute. To take the time to try 
him would be a criminal waste of public money. To 
hang him would be too slight a punishment for so 
dastardly a crime. An example must be made. 

Already the preparations were under way for the 
impending execution. A T-rail from the railroad 
yard had been procured, and men were burying it in 
the square before the jail. Others were bringing 
chains, and a load of pine wood was piled in con- 
venient proximity. Some enterprising individual had 
begun the erection of seats from which, for a pecuniary 
consideration, the spectacle might be the more easily 
and comfortably viewed. 

Ellis was stopped once or twice by persons of his 
acquaintance. From one he learned that the rail- 
roads would run excursions from the neighboring 
towns in order to bring spectators to the scene ; from 
another that the burning was to take place early in 
the evening, so that the children might not be kept 
up beyond their usual bedtime. In one group that 
he passed he heard several young men discussing the 
question of which portions of the negro's body they 



220 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

would prefer for souvenirs. Ellis shuddered and has- 
tened forward. Whatever was to be done must be 
done quickly, or it would be too late. He saw that 
already it would require a strong case in favor of the 
accused to overcome the popular verdict. 

Going up the steps of the jail, he met Mr. Dela- 
mere, who was just coming out, after a fruitless inter- 
view with Sandy. 

" Mr. Ellis," said the old gentleman, who seemed 
greatly agitated, " this is monstrous ! " 

" It is indeed, sir ! " returned the younger man. 
" I mean to stop it if I can. The negro did not kill 
Mrs. Ochiltree." 

Mr. Delamere looked at Ellis keenly, and, as Ellis 
recalled afterwards, there was death in his eyes. Un- 
able to draw a syllable from Sandy, he had found his 
servant's silence more eloquent than words. Ellis 
felt a presentiment that this affair, however it might 
terminate, would be fatal to this fine old man, whom 
the city could ill spare, in spite of his age and in- 
firmities. 

" Mr. Ellis," asked Mr. Delamere, in a voice which 
trembled with ill-suppressed emotion, " do you know 
who killed her ? " 

Ellis felt a surging pity for his old friend ; but 
every step that he had taken toward the jail had con- 
firmed and strengthened his own resolution that this 
contemplated crime, which he dimly felt to be far 
more atrocious than that of which Sandy was accused, 
in that it involved a whole community rather than one 
vicious man, should be stopped at any cost. Deplor- 
able enough had the negro been guilty, it became, in 
view of his certain innocence, an unspeakable horror, 
which for all time would cover the city with infamy. 



THE DISCOMFORT OF ELLIS 221 

" Mr. Delamere," he replied, looking the elder man 
squarely in the eyes, " I think I do, — and I am very 
sorry." 

" And who was it, Mr. Ellis ? " 

He put the question hopelessly, as though the 
answer were a foregone conclusion. 

" I do not wish to say at present," replied Ellis, 
with a remorseful pang, " unless it becomes absolutely 
necessary, to save the negro's life. Accusations are 
dangerous, — as this case proves, — unless the proof 
be certain." 

For a moment it seemed as though Mr. Delamere 
would collapse upon the spot. Rallying almost in- 
stantly, however, he took the arm which Ellis involun- 
tarily offered, and said with an effort : — 

"Mr. Ellis, you are a gentleman whom it is an 
honor to know. If you have time, I wish you would 
go with me to my house, — I can hardly trust myself 
alone, — and thence to the Chronicle office. This 
thing shall be stopped, and you will help me stop it." 

It required but a few minutes to cover the half 
mile that lay between the prison and Mr. Delamere's 
residence. 



XXVII 

THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 

Mr. Delamere went immediately to his grandson's 
room, which he entered alone, closing and locking the 
door behind him. He had requested Ellis to wait in 
the carriage. 

The bed had been made, and the room was ap- 
parently in perfect order. There was a bureau in the 
room, through which Mr. Delamere proceeded to look 
thoroughly. Finding one of the drawers locked, he 
tried it with a key of his own, and being unable to 
unlock it, took a poker from beside the stove and 
broke it ruthlessly open. 

The contents served to confirm what he had heard 
concerning his grandson's character. Thrown to- 
gether in disorderly confusion were bottles of wine 
and whiskey ; soiled packs of cards ; a dice-box with 
dice ; a box of poker chips, several revolvers, and a 
number of photographs and paper-covered books at 
which the old gentleman merely glanced to ascertain 
their nature. 

So far, while his suspicion had been strengthened, 
he had found nothing to confirm it. He searched the 
room more carefully, and found, in the wood-box by 
the small heating-stove which stood in the room, a torn 
and crumpled bit of paper. Stooping to pick this up, 
his eye caught a gleam of something yellow beneath 
the bureau, which lay directly in his line of vision. 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 223 

First he smoothed out the paper. It was appar- 
ently the lower half of a label, or part of the cover 
of a small box, torn diagonally from corner to corner. 
From the business card at the bottom, which gave the 
name of a firm of manufacturers of theatrical sup- 
plies in a Northern city, and from the letters remain- 
ing upon the upper and narrower half, the bit of 
paper had plainly formed part of the wrapper of a 
package of burnt cork. 

Closing his fingers spasmodically over this damning 
piece of evidence, Mr. Delamere knelt painfully, and 
with the aid of his cane drew out from under the 
bureau the yellow object which had attracted his at- 
tention. It was a five-dollar gold piece of a date 
back toward the beginning of the century. 

To make assurance doubly sure, Mr. Delamere 
summoned the cook from the kitchen in the back 
yard. In answer to her master's questions, Sally 
averred that Mr. Tom had got up very early, had 
knocked at her window, — she slept in a room off the 
kitchen in the yard, — and had told her that she need 
not bother about breakfast for him, as he had had a 
cold bite from the pantry ; that he was going hunting 
and fishing, and would be gone all day. According 
to Sally, Mr. Tom had come in about ten o'clock the 
night before. He had forgotten his night-key, Sandy 
was out, and she had admitted him with her own key. 
He had said that he was very tired and was going 
immediately to bed. 

Mr. Delamere seemed perplexed ; the crime had 
been committed later in the evening than ten o'clock. 
The cook cleared up the mystery. 

" I reckon he must 'a' be'n dead ti'ed, suh, fer I 
went back ter his room fifteen er twenty minutes after 



224 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

he come in fer ter fin' out w'at he wanted fer break- 
fus' ; an' I knock' two or three times, rale ha'd, an' 
Mistuh Tom did n' wake up no mo' d'n de dead. He 
sho'ly had a good sleep, er he 'd never 'a' got up so 
ea'ly." 

" Thank you, Sally," said Mr. Delamere, when the 
woman had finished, " that will do." 

" Will you be home ter suppah, suh ? " asked the 
cook. 

"Yes." 

It was a matter of the supremest indifference to 
Mr. Delamere whether he should ever eat again, but 
he would not betray his feelings to a servant. In a 
few minutes he was driving rapidly with Ellis toward 
the office of the Morning Chronicle. Ellis could see 
that Mr. Delamere had discovered something of tragic 
import. Neither spoke. Ellis gave all his attention 
to the horses, and Mr. Delamere remained wrapped 
in his own sombre reflections. 

When they reached the office, they were informed 
by Jerry that Major Carteret was engaged with Gen- 
eral Belmont and Captain McBane. Mr. Delamere 
knocked peremptorily at the door of the inner office, 
which was opened by Carteret in person. 

" Oh, it is you, Mr. Delamere." 

" Carteret," exclaimed Mr. Delamere, " I must 
speak to you immediately, and alone." 

" Excuse me a moment, gentlemen," said Carteret, 
turning to those within the room. " I '11 be back in a 
moment — don't go away." 

Ellis had left the room, closing the door behind 
him. Mr, Delamere and Carteret were quite alone. 

" Carteret," declared the old gentleman, " this mur- 
der must not take place." 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 225 

ac Murder' is a hard word," replied the editor, 
frowning slightly. 

" It is the right word," rejoined Mr. Delamere, de- 
cidedly. " It would be a foul and most unnatural 
murder, for Sandy did not kill Mrs. Ochiltree." 

Carteret with difficulty restrained a smile of pity. 
His old friend was very much excited, as the tremor 
in his voice gave proof. The criminal was his trusted 
servant, who had proved unworthy of confidence. No 
one could question Mr. Delamere's motives ; but he 
was old, his judgment was no longer to be relied upon. 
It was a great pity that he should so excite and over- 
strain himself about a worthless negro, who had for- 
feited his life for a dastardly crime. Mr. Delamere 
had had two paralytic strokes, and a third might 
prove fatal. He must be dealt with gently. 

" Mr. Delamere," he said, with patient tolerance, 
" I think you are deceived. There is but one sure 
way to stop this execution. If your servant is inno- 
cent, you must produce the real criminal. If the 
negro, with such overwhelming proofs against him, is 
not guilty, who is ? " 

" I will tell you who is," replied Mr. Delamere. 
" The murderer is," — the words came with a note of 
anguish, as though torn from his very heart, — " the 
murderer is Tom Delamere, my own grandson ! " 

" Impossible, sir ! ' : exclaimed Carteret, starting 
back involuntarily. " That could not be ! The man 
was seen leaving the house, and he was black ! " 

" All cats are gray in the dark, Carteret ; and, 
moreover, nothing is easier than for a white man to 
black his face. God alone knows how many crimes 
have been done in this guise ! Tom Delamere, to 
get the money to pay his gambling debts, committed 



226 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

this foul murder, and then tried to fasten it upon as 
honest and faithful a soul as ever trod the earth." 

Carteret, though at first overwhelmed by this an- 
nouncement, perceived with quick intuition that it 
might easily be true. It was but a step from fraud 
to crime, and in Delamere's need of money there lay 
a palpable motive for robbery, — the murder may 
have been an afterthought. Delamere knew as much 
about the cedar chest as the negro could have known, 
and more. 

But a white man must not be condemned without 
proof positive. 

" What foundation is there, sir," he asked, " for this 
astounding charge ? " 

Mr. Delamere related all that had taken place since 
he had left Belleview a couple of hours before, and as 
he proceeded, step by step, every word carried convic- 
tion to Carteret. Tom Delamere's skill as a mimic 
and a negro impersonator was well known ; he had 
himself laughed at more than one of his performances. 
There had been a powerful motive, and Mr. Dela- 
mere's discoveries had made clear the means. Tom's 
unusual departure, before breakfast, on a fishing ex- 
pedition was a suspicious circumstance. There was 
a certain devilish ingenuity about the affair which he 
would hardly have expected of Tom Delamere, but 
for which the reason was clear enough. One might 
have thought that Tom would have been satisfied with 
merely blacking his face, and leaving to chance the 
identification of the negro who might be apprehended. 
He would hardly have implicated, out of pure malig- 
nity, his grandfather's old servant, who had been his 
own care-taker for many years. Here, however, Car- 
teret could see where Tom's own desperate position 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 227 

operated to furnish a probable motive for the crime. 
The surest way to head off suspicion from himself was 
to direct it strongly toward some particular person, 
and this he had been able to do conclusively by his 
access to Sandy's clothes, his skill in making up to 
resemble him, and by the episode of the silk purse. 
By placing himself beyond reach during the next 
day, he would not be called upon to corroborate or 
deny any inculpating statements which Sandy might 
make, and in the very probable case that the crime 
should be summarily avenged, any such statements 
on Sandy's part would be regarded as mere des- 
perate subterfuges of the murderer to save his own 
life. It was a bad affair. 

" The case seems clear," said Carteret reluctantly 
but conclusively. " And now, what shall we do about 
it?" 

" I want you to print a handbill," said Mr. Dela- 
mere, " and circulate it through the town, stating 
that Sandy Campbell is innocent and Tom Delamere 
guilty of this crime. If this is not done, I will go 
myself and declare it to all who will listen, and I will 
publicly disown the villain who is no more grandson 
of mine. There is no deeper sink of iniquity into 
which he could fall." 

Carteret's thoughts were chasing one another tu- 
multuously. There could be no doubt that the negro 
was innocent, from the present aspect of affairs, and 
he must not be lynched ; but in what sort of posi- 
tion would the white people be placed, if Mr. Dela- 
mere carried out his Spartan purpose of making the 
true facts known ? The white people of the city had 
raised the issue of their own superior morality, and 
had themselves made this crime a race question. 



228 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

The success of the impending " revolution," for which 
he and his confreres had labored so long, depended 
in large measure upon the maintenance of their race 
prestige, which would be injured in the eyes of the 
world by such a fiasco. While they might yet win by 
sheer force, their cause would suffer in the court of 
morals, where they might stand convicted as pirates, 
instead of being applauded as patriots. Even the 
negroes would have the laugh on them, — the people 
whom they hoped to make approve and justify their 
own despoilment. To be laughed at by the negroes 
was a calamity only less terrible than failure or death. 

Such an outcome of an event which had already 
been heralded to the four corners of the earth would 
throw a cloud of suspicion upon the stories of outrage 
which had gone up from the South for so many 
years, and had done so much to win the sympathy 
of the North for the white South and to alienate it 
from the colored people. The reputation of the race 
was threatened. They must not lynch the negro, and 
yet, for the credit of the town, its aristocracy, and the 
race, the truth of this ghastly story must not see the 
light, — at least not yet. 

" Mr. Delamere," he exclaimed, " I am shocked 
and humiliated. The negro must be saved, of course, 
but — consider the family honor." 

" Tom is no longer a member of my family. I 
disown him. He has covered the family name — my 
name, sir — with infamy. We have no longer a 
family honor. I wish never to hear his name spoken 
again ! " 

For several minutes Carteret argued with his old 
friend. Then he went into the other room and con- 
sulted with General Belmont. 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 229 

As a result of these conferences, and of certain 
urgent messages sent out, within half an hour thirty 
or forty of the leading citizens of Wellington were 
gathered in the Morning Chronicle office. Several 
other curious persons, observing that there was some- 
thing in the wind, and supposing correctly that it re- 
ferred to the projected event of the evening, crowded 
in with those who had been invited. 

Carteret was in another room, still arguing with 
Mr. Delamere. " It 's a mere formality, sir," he was 
saying suavely, " accompanied by a mental reservation. 
We know the facts ; but this must be done to justify 
us, in the eyes of the mob, in calling them off before 
they accomplish their purpose." 

" Carteret," said the old man, in a voice eloquent 
of the struggle through which he had passed, " I 
would not perjure myself to prolong my own miser- 
able existence another day, but Grod will forgive a sin 
committed to save another's life. Upon your head 
be it, Carteret, and not on mine ! " 

" Gentlemen," said Carteret, entering with Mr. 
Delamere the room where the men were gathered, 
and raising his hand for silence, " the people of Wel- 
lington were on the point of wreaking vengeance upon 
a negro who was supposed to have been guilty of a 
terrible crime. The white men of this city, impelled 
by the highest and holiest sentiments, were about to 
take steps to defend their hearthstones and maintain 
the purity and ascendency of their race. Your pur- 
pose sprung from hearts wounded in their tenderest 
susceptibilities." 

" 'Rah, 'rah ! ' : shouted a tipsy sailor, who had 
edged in with the crowd. 

" But this same sense of justice," continued Car- 



230 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

teret oratorically, " which would lead you to visit 
swift and terrible punishment upon the guilty, would 
not permit you to slay an innocent man. Even a 
negro, as long as he behaves himself and keeps in his 
place, is entitled to the protection of the law. We 
may be stern and unbending in the punishment of 
crime, as befits our masterful race, but we hold the 
scales of justice with even and impartial hand." 

" 'Rah f 'mpa'tial han' ! " cried the tipsy sailor, 
who was immediately ejected with slight ceremony. 

" We have discovered, beyond a doubt, that the 
negro Sandy Campbell, now in custody, did not com- 
mit this robbery and murder, but that it was perpe- 
trated by some unknown man, who has fled from the 
city. Our venerable and distinguished fellow towns- 
man, Mr. Delamere, in whose employment this Camp- 
bell has been for many years, will vouch for his 
character, and states, furthermore, that Campbell was 
with him all last night, covering any hour at which 
this crime could have been committed." 

"If Mr. Delamere will swear to that," said some 
one in the crowd, " the negro should not be lynched." 

There were murmurs of dissent. The preparations 
had all been made. There would be great disap- 
pointment if the lynching did not occur. 

" Let Mr. Delamere swear, if he wants to save the 
nigger," came again from the crowd. 

" Certainly," assented Carteret. " Mr. Delamere 
can have no possible objection to taking the oath. Is 
there a notary public present, or a justice of the 
peace ? " 

A man stepped forward. " I am a justice of the 
peace," he announced. 

" Very well, Mr. Smith," said Carteret, recognizing 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 231 

the speaker. " With your permission, I will formu- 
late the oath, and Mr. Delamere may repeat it after 
me, if he will. I solemnly swear," — 

" I solemnly swear," — 

Mr. Delamere's voice might have come from the 
tomb, so hollow and unnatural did it sound. 

" So help me God," — 

" So help me God," — 

" That the negro Sandy Campbell, now in jail on 
the charge of murder, robbery, and assault, was in my 
presence last night between the hours of eight and 
two o'clock." 

Mr. Delamere repeated this statement in a firm 
voice ; but to Ellis, who was in the secret, his words 
fell upon the ear like clods dropping upon the coffin 
in an open grave. 

" I wish to add," said General Belmont, stepping 
forward, " that it is not our intention to interfere, by 
anything which may be done at this meeting, with the 
orderly process of the law, or to advise the prisoner's 
immediate release. The prisoner will remain in cus- 
tody, Mr. Delamere, Major Carteret, and I guarantee- 
ing that he will be proved entirely innocent at the 
preliminary hearing to-morrow morning." 

Several of those present looked relieved ; others 
were plainly disappointed ; but when the meeting 
ended, the news went out that the lynching had been 
given up. Carteret immediately wrote and had 
struck off a handbill giving a brief statement of the 
proceedings, and sent out a dozen boys to distribute 
copies among the people in the streets. That no pre- 
caution might be omitted, a call was issued to the 
Wellington Grays, the crack independent military 
company of the city, who in an incredibly short time 
were on guard at the jail. 



232 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

Thus a slight change in the point of view had 
demonstrated the entire ability of the leading citizens 
to maintain the dignified and orderly processes of the 
law whenever they saw fit to do so. 

The night passed without disorder, beyond the 
somewhat rough handling of two or three careless 
negroes that came in the way of small parties of the 
disappointed who had sought alcoholic consolation. 

At ten o'clock the next morning, a preliminary hear- 
ing of the charge against Campbell was had before 
a magistrate. Mr. Delamere, perceptibly older and 
more wizened than he had seemed the day before, 
and leaning heavily on the arm of a servant, repeated 
his statement of the evening before. Only one or two 
witnesses were called, among whom was Mr. Ellis, 
who swore positively that in his opinion the prisoner 
was not the man whom he had seen and at first sup- 
posed to be Campbell. The most sensational piece 
of testimony was that of Dr. Price, who had examined 
the body, and who swore that the wound in the head 
was not necessarily fatal, and might have been due to 
a fall, — that she had more than likely died of shock 
attendant upon the robbery, she being of advanced 
age and feeble health. There was no evidence, he 
said, of any other personal violence. 

Sandy was not even bound over to the grand jury, 
but was discharged upon the ground that there was 
not sufficient evidence upon which to hold him. 
Upon his release he received the congratulations of 
many present, some of whom would cheerfully have 
done him to death a few hours before. With the 
childish fickleness of a mob, they now experienced 
a satisfaction almost as great as, though less exciting 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 233 

than, that attendant upon taking life. We speak of 
the mysteries of inanimate nature. The workings of 
the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the 
universe. One moment they make us despair of our 
kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of 
the divine image. Sandy, having thus escaped from 
the Mr. Hyde of the mob, now received the benedic- 
tion of its Dr. Jekyll. Being no cynical philosopher, 
and realizing how nearly the jaws of death had closed 
upon him, he was profoundly grateful for his escape, 
and felt not the slightest desire to investigate or 
criticise any man's motives. 

With the testimony of Dr. Price, the worst fea- 
ture of the affair came to an end. The murder elim- 
inated or rendered doubtful, the crime became a mere 
vulgar robbery, the extent of which no one could 
estimate, since no living soul knew how much money 
Mrs. Ochiltree had had in the cedar chest. The ab- 
surdity of the remaining charge became more fully 
apparent in the light of the reaction from the excite- 
ment of the day before. 

Nothing further was ever done about the case ; 
but though the crime went unpunished, it carried evil 
in its train. As we have seen, the charge against 
Campbell had been made against the whole colored 
race. All over the United States the Associated 
Press had flashed the report of another dastardly out- 
rage by a burly black brute, — all black brutes it 
seems are burly, — and of the impending lynching 
with its prospective horrors. This news, being highly 
sensational in its character, had been displayed in 
large black type on the front pages of the daily 
papers. The dispatch that followed, to the effect that 
the accused had been found innocent and the lynch- 



234 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

ing frustrated, received slight attention, if any, in a 
fine-print paragraph on an inside page. The facts of 
the case never came out at all. The family honor of 
the Delameres was preserved, and the prestige of the 
white race in Wellington was not seriously impaired. 

Upon leaving the preliminary hearing, old Mr. 
Delamere had requested General Belmont to call at 
his house during the day upon professional business. 
This the general did in the course of the afternoon. 

" Belmont," said Mr. Delamere, " I wish to make 
my will. I should have drawn it with my own hand ; 
but you know my motives, and can testify to my 
soundness of mind and memory." 

He thereupon dictated a will, by the terms of 
which he left to his servant, Sandy Campbell, three 
thousand dollars, as a mark of the testator's appre- 
ciation of services rendered and sufferings endured 
by Sandy on behalf of his master. After some minor 
dispositions, the whole remainder of the estate was 
devised to Dr. William Miller, in trust for the uses of 
his hospital and training-school for nurses, on condi- 
tion that the institution be incorporated and placed 
under the management of competent trustees. Tom 
Delamere was not mentioned in the will. 

" There, Belmont," he said, " that load is off my 
mind. Now, if you will call in some witnesses, — 
most of my people can write, — I shall feel entirely at 



ease." 



The will was signed by Mr. Delamere, and wit- 
nessed by Jeff and Billy, two servants in the house, 
neither of whom received any information as to its 
contents, beyond the statement that they were wit- 



nessing their master's will. 



THE VAGARIES OF THE HIGHER LAW 235 

" I wish to leave that with you for safe keeping, 
Belmont," said Mr. Delamere, after the witnesses 
had retired. " Lock it up in your safe until I die, 
which will not be very long, since I have no further 
desire to live." 

An hour later Mr. Delamere suffered a third para- 
lytic stroke, from which he died two days afterwards, 
without having in the meantime recovered the power 
of speech. 

The will was never produced. The servants stated, 
and General Belmont admitted, that Mr. Delamere 
had made a will a few days before his death ; but 
since it was not discoverable, it seemed probable that 
the testator had destroyed it. This was all the more 
likely, the general was inclined to think, because the 
will had been of a most unusual character. What 
the contents of the will were, he of course did not 
state, it having been made under the seal of profes- 
sional secrecy. 

This suppression was justified by the usual race 
argument : Miller's hospital was already well estab- 
lished, and, like most negro institutions, could no 
doubt rely upon Northern philanthropy for any fur- 
ther support it might need. Mr. Delamere's prop- 
erty belonged of right to the white race, and by the 
higher law should remain in the possession of white 
people. Loyalty to one's race was a more sacred 
principle than deference to a weak old man's whims. 

Having reached this conclusion, General Belmont's 
first impulse was to destroy the will ; on second 
thoughts he locked it carefully away in his safe. He 
would hold it awhile. It might some time be ad- 
visable to talk the matter over with young Delamere, 
who was of a fickle disposition and might wish to 
change his legal adviser. 



XXVIII 

IN SEASON AND OUT 

Wellington soon resumed its wonted calm, and 
in a few weeks the intended lynching was only a 
memory. The robbery and assault, however, still 
remained a mystery to all but a chosen few. The 
affair had been dropped as absolutely as though it 
had never occurred. No colored man ever learned the 
reason of this sudden change of front, and Sandy 
Campbell's loyalty to his old employer's memory 
kept him silent. Tom Delamere did not offer to 
retain Sandy in his service, though he presented 
him with most of the old gentleman's wardrobe. It 
is only justice to Tom to state that up to this time he 
had not been informed of the contents of his grand- 
father's latest will. Major Carteret gave Sandy em- 
ployment as butler, thus making a sort of vicarious 
atonement, on the part of the white race, of which 
the major felt himself in a way the embodiment, for 
the risk to which Sandy had been subjected. 

Shortly after these events Sandy was restored to 
the bosom of the church, and, enfolded by its shelter- 
ing arms, was no longer tempted to stray from the 
path of rectitude, but became even a more rigid 
Methodist than before his recent troubles. 

Tom Delamere did not call upon Clara again in 
the character of a lover. Of course they could not 
help meeting, from time to time, but he never dared 



IN SEASON AND OUT 237 

presume upon their former relations. Indeed, the 
social atmosphere of Wellington remained so frigid 
toward Delamere that he left town, and did not return 
for several months. 

Ellis was aware that Delamere had been thrown 
over, but a certain delicacy restrained him from fol- 
lowing up immediately the advantage which the ab- 
sence of his former rival gave him. It seemed to 
him, with the quixotry of a clean, pure mind, that 
Clara would pass through a period of mourning for 
her lost illusion, and that it would be indelicate, for 
the time being, to approach her with a lover's atten- 
tions. The work of the office had been unusually 
heavy of late. The major, deeply absorbed in poli- 
tics, left the detail work of the paper to Ellis. Into 
the intimate counsels of the revolutionary committee 
Ellis had not been admitted, nor would he have de- 
sired to be. He knew, of course, in a general way, 
the results that it was sought to achieve ; and while 
he did not see their necessity, he deferred to the 
views of older men, and was satisfied to remain in 
ignorance of anything which he might disapprove. 
Moreover, his own personal affairs occupied his mind 
to an extent that made politics or any other subject 
a matter of minor importance. 

As for Dr. Miller, he never learned of Mr. Dela- 
mere's good intentions toward his institution, but 
regretted the old gentleman's death as the loss of a 
sincere friend and well-wisher of his race in their 
unequal struggle. 

Despite the untiring zeal of Carteret and his asso- 
ciates, the campaign for the restriction of the suffrage, 
which was to form the basis of a permanent white 
supremacy, had seemed to languish for a while after 



238 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the Ochiltree affair. The lull, however, was only tem- 
porary, and more apparent than real, for the forces 
adverse to the negro were merely gathering streugth 
for a more vigorous assault. While little was said in 
Wellington, public sentiment all over the country 
became every day more favorable to the views of the 
conspirators. The nation was rushing forward with 
giant strides toward colossal wealth and world-domin- 
ion, before the exigencies of which mere abstract 
ethical theories must not be permitted to stand. The 
same argument that justified the conquest of an in- 
ferior nation could not be denied to those who sought 
the suppression of an inferior race. In the South, an 
obscure jealousy of the negro's progress, an obscure 
fear of the very equality so contemptuously denied, 
furnished a rich soil for successful agitation. Statis- 
tics of crime, ingeniously manipulated, were made to 
present a fearful showing against the negro. Vital 
statistics were made to prove that he had degenerated 
from an imaginary standard of physical excellence 
which had existed under the benign influence of 
slavery. Constant lynchings emphasized his impo- 
tence, and bred everywhere a growing contempt for 
his rights. 

At the North, a new Pharaoh had risen, who knew 
not Israel, — a new generation, who knew little of the 
fierce passions which had played around the negro in 
a past epoch, and derived their opinions of him from 
the " coon song " and the police reports. Those of 
his old friends who survived were disappointed that he 
had not flown with clipped wings ; that he had not 
in one generation of limited opportunity attained the 
level of the whites. The whole race question seemed 
to have reached a sort of impasse^ a blind alley, of 



IN SEASON AND OUT 239 

which no one could see the outlet. The negro had 
become a target at which any one might try a shot. 
Schoolboys gravely debated the question as to whether 
or not the negro should exercise the franchise. The 
pessimist gave him up in despair ; while the optimist, 
smilingly confident that everything would come out 
all right in the end, also turned aside and went his 
buoyant way to more pleasing themes. 

For a time there were white men in the state who 
opposed any reactionary step unless it were of general 
application. They were conscientious men, who had 
learned the ten commandments and wished to do 
right ; but this class was a small minority, and their 
objections were soon silenced by the all-powerful race 
argument. Selfishness is the most constant of human 
motives. Patriotism, humanity, or the love of God 
may lead to sporadic outbursts which sweep away the 
heaped-up wrongs of centuries ; but they languish at 
times, while the love of self works on ceaselessly, un- 
wearyingly, burrowing always at the very roots of life, 
and heaping up fresh wrongs for other centuries to 
sweep away. The state was at the mercy of venal 
and self-seeking politicians, bent upon regaining their 
ascendency at any cost, stultifying their own minds 
by vague sophistries and high-sounding phrases, which 
deceived none but those who wished to be deceived, 
and these but imperfectly ; and dulling the public 
conscience by a loud clamor in which the calm voice 
of truth was for the moment silenced. So the cause 
went on. 

Carteret, as spokesman of the campaign, and sin- 
cerest of all its leaders, performed prodigies of labor. 
The Morning Chronicle proclaimed, in season and 
out, the doctrine of " White Supremacy." Leaving 



240 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the paper in charge of Ellis, the major made a tour of 
the state, rousing the white people of the better class 
to an appreciation of the terrible danger which con- 
fronted them in the possibility that a few negroes 
might hold a few offices or dictate the terms upon 
which white men should fill them. Difficulties were 
explained away. The provisions of the Federal Con- 
stitution, it was maintained, must yield to the " higher 
law," and if the Constitution could neither be altered 
nor bent to this end, means must be found to circum- 
vent it. 

The device finally hit upon for disfranchising the 
colored people in this particular state was the notori- 
ous " grandfather clause." After providing various 
restrictions of the suffrage, based upon education, char- 
acter, and property, which it was deemed would in 
effect disfranchise the colored race, an exception was 
made in favor of all citizens whose fathers or grand- 
fathers had been entitled to vote prior to 1867. Since 
none but white men could vote prior to 1867, this 
exception obviously took in the poor and ignorant 
whites, while the same class of negroes were excluded. 

It was ingenious, but it was not fair. In due time 
a constitutional convention was called, in which the 
above scheme was adopted and submitted to a vote of 
the people for ratification. The campaign was fought 
on the color line. Many white Republicans, deluded 
with the hope that by the elimination of the negro 
vote their party might receive accessions from the 
Democratic ranks, went over to the white party. By 
fraud in one place, by terrorism in another, and 
everywhere by the resistless moral force of the united 
whites, the negroes were reduced to the apathy of 
despair, their few white allies demoralized, and the 



IN SEASON AND OUT 241 

amendment adopted by a large majority. The negroes 
were taught that this is a white man's country, and 
that the sooner they made up their minds to this fact, 
the better for all concerned. The white people would 
be good to them so long as they behaved themselves 
and kept their place. As theoretical equals, — prac- 
tical equality being forever out of the question, either 
by nature or by law, — there could have been nothing 
but strife between them, in which the weaker party 
would invariably have suffered most. 

Some colored men accepted the situation thus out- 
lined, if not as desirable, at least as inevitable. Most 
of them, however, had little faith in this condescend- 
ing friendliness which was to take the place of con- 
stitutional rights. They knew they had been treated 
unfairly; that their enemies had prevailed against 
them ; that their whilom friends had stood passively 
by and seen them undone. Many of the most enter- 
prising and progressive left the state, and those who 
remain still labor under a sense of wrong and out- 
rage which renders them distinctly less valuable as 
citizens. 

The great steal was made, but the thieves did not 
turn honest, — the scheme still shows the mark of the 
burglar's tools. Sins, like chickens, come home to 
roost. The South paid a fearful price for the wrong 
of negro slavery ; in some form or other it will doubt- 
less reap the fruits of this later iniquity. 

Drastic as were these " reforms," the results of 
which we have anticipated somewhat, since the new 
Constitution was not to take effect immediately, they 
moved all too slowly for the little coterie of Welling- 
ton conspirators, whose ambitions and needs urged 



242 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

tliem to prompt action. Under the new Constitution 
it would be two full years before the " nigger amend- 
ment " became effective, and meanwhile the Wel- 
lington district would remain hopelessly Republican. 
The committee decided, about two months before the 
fall election, that an active local campaign must be 
carried on, with a view to discourage the negroes from 
attending the polls on election day. 

The question came up for discussion one forenoon 
in a meeting at the office of the Morning Chronicle, 
at which all of the " Big Three " were present. 

" Something must be done," declared McBane, 
" and that damn quick. Too many white people are 
saying that it will be better to wait until the amend- 
ment goes into effect. That would mean to leave the 
niggers in charge of this town for two years after the 
state has declared for white supremacy ! I 'm opposed 
to leaving it in their hands one hour, — them 's my 
sentiments ! " 

This proved to be the general opinion, and the dis- 
cussion turned to the subject of ways and means. 

" What became of that editorial in the nigger 
paper ? " inquired the general in his blandest tones, 
cleverly directing a smoke ring toward the ceiling. 
" It lost some of its point back there, when we came 
near lynching that nigger ; but now that that has 
blown over, why would n't it be a good thing to bring 
into play at the present j imcture ? Let 's read it over 
again." 

Carteret extracted the paper from the pigeon-hole 
where he had placed it some months before. The 
article was read aloud with emphasis and discussed 
phrase by phrase. Of its wording there could be little 
criticism, — it was temperately and even cautiously 



IN SEASON AND OUT 243 

phrased. As suggested by the general, the Ochiltree 
affair had proved that it was not devoid of truth. Its 
great offensiveness lay in its boldness : that a negro 
should publish in a newspaper what white people 
would scarcely acknowledge to themselves in secret 
was much as though a Russian moujik or a German 
peasant should rush into print to question the divine 
right of the Lord's Anointed. The article was racial 
lese-majeste in the most aggravated form. A peg 
was heeded, upon which to hang a coup d'etat, and 
this editorial offered the requisite opportunity. It 
was unanimously decided to republish the obnoxious 
article, with comment adapted to fire the inflammable 
Southern heart and rouse it against any further self- 
assertion of the negroes in politics or elsewhere. 

" The time is ripe ! " exclaimed McBane. " In a 
month we can have the niggers so scared that they 
won't dare stick their heads out of doors on 'lection 
day." 

" I wonder," observed the general thoughtfully, 
after this conclusion had been reached, " if we 
could n't have Jerry fetch us some liquor ? " 

Jerry appeared in response to the usual summons. 
The general gave him the money, and ordered three 
Calhoun cocktails. When Jerry returned with the 
glasses on a tray, the general observed him with 
pointed curiosity. 

"What in h — 11 is the matter with you, Jerry? 
Your black face is splotched with brown and yellow 
patches, and your hair shines as though you had fallen 
head-foremost into a firkin of butter. What 's the 
matter with you ? " 

Jerry seemed much embarrassed by this inquiry. 

"Nothin', suh, nothin'," he stammered. "It's — 



244 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

it 's jes' somethin' I be'n puttin' on ray hair, sub, ter 
improve de quality, sun." 

" Jerry," returned the general, bending a solemn 
look upon the porter, " you have been playing with 
edged tools, and your days are numbered. You have 
been reading the Afro- American Banner." 

He shook open the paper, which he had retained in 
his hand, and read from one of the advertisements : — 

M ' Kinky, curly hair made straight in two applica- 
tions. Dark skins lightened two shades ; mulattoes 
turned perfectly white.' 

" This stuff is rank poison, Jerry," continued the 
general with a mock solemnity which did not impose 
upon Jerry, who nevertheless listened with an air of 
great alarm. He suspected that the general was mak- 
ing fun of him ; but he also knew that the general 
would like to think that Jerry believed him in earnest ; 
and to please the white folks was Jerry's consistent 
aim in life. " I can see the signs of decay in your 
face, and your hair will all fall out in a week or two 
at the latest, — mark my words ! " 

McBane had listened to this pleasantry with a sar- 
donic sneer. It was a waste of valuable time. To 
Carteret it seemed in doubtful taste. These grotesque 
advertisements had their tragic side. They were proof 
that the negroes had read the handwriting on the wall. 
These pitiful attempts to change their physical char- 
acteristics were an acknowledgment, on their own part, 
that the negro was doomed, and that the white man 
was to inherit the earth and hold all other races under 
his heel. For, as the months had passed, Carteret's 
thoughts, centring more and more upon the negro, 
had led him farther and farther, until now he was 
firmly convinced that there was no permanent place 



IN SEASON AND OUT 245 

for the negro in the United States, if indeed any- 
where in the world, except under the ground. More 
pathetic even than Jerry's efforts to escape from the 
universal doom of his race was his ignorance that even 
if he could, by some strange alchemy, bleach his skin 
and straighten his hair, there would still remain, 
underneath it all, only the unbleached darky, — the 
ass in the lion's skin. 

When the general had finished his facetious lecture, 
Jerry backed out of the room shamefacedly, though 
affecting a greater confusion than he really felt. 
Jerry had not reasoned so closely as Carteret, but he 
had realized that it was a distinct advantage to be 
white, — an advantage which white people had utilized 
to secure all the best things in the world ; and he had 
entertained the vague hope that by changing his com- 
plexion he might share this prerogative. While he 
suspected the general's sincerity, he nevertheless felt 
a little apprehensive lest the general's prediction 
about the effects of the face-bleach and other prepa- 
rations might prove true, — the general was a white 
gentleman and ought to know, — and decided to aban- 
don their use. 

This purpose was strengthened by his next inter- 
view with the major. When Carteret summoned him, 
an hour later, after the other gentlemen had taken 
their leave, Jerry had washed his head thoroughly and 
there remained no trace of the pomade. An attempt 
to darken the lighter spots in his cuticle by the appli- 
cation of printer's ink had not proved equally success- 
ful, — the retouching left the spots as much too dark 
as they had formerly been too light. 

" Jerry," said Carteret sternly, " when I hired you 
to work for the Chronicle, you were black. The word 



246 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

' negro ' means 4 black.' The best negro is a black 
negro, of the pure type, as it came from the hand of 
God. If you wish to get along well with the white 
people, the blacker you are the better, — white people 
do not like negroes who want to be white. A man 
should be content to remain as God made him and 
where God placed him. So no more of this nonsense. 
Are you going to vote at the next election ? " 

" What would you 'vise me ter do, suh ? " asked 
Jerry cautiously. 

" I do not advise you. You ought to have sense 
enough to see where your own interests lie. I put it 
to you whether you cannot trust yourself more safely 
in the hands of white gentlemen, who are your true 
friends, than in the hands of ignorant and purchas- 
able negroes and unscrupulous white scoundrels ? " 

" Dere 's no doubt about it, suh," assented Jerry, 
with a vehemence proportioned to his desire to get 
back into favor. " I ain' gwine ter have nothin' ter 
do wid de 'lection, suh ! Ef I don' vote, I kin keep 
my job, can't I, suh ? " 

The major eyed Jerry with an air of supreme dis- 
gust. What could be expected of a race so utterly de- 
void of tact? It seemed as though this negro thought 
a white gentleman might want to bribe him to remain 
away from the polls ; and the negro's willingness to 
accept the imaginary bribe demonstrated the venal 
nature of the colored race, — its entire lack of moral 
principle ! 

" You will retain your place, Jerry," he said se- 
verely, " so long as you perform your duties to my 
satisfaction and behave yourself properly." 

With this grandiloquent subterfuge Carteret turned 
to his next article on white supremacy. Jerry did 



IN SEASON AND OUT 247 

not delude himself with any fine-spun sophistry. He 
knew perfectly well that he held his job upon the 
condition that he stayed away from the polls at the 
approaching election. Jerry was a fool — 

" The world of fools hath such a store, 
That he who would not see an ass, 
Must stay at home and shut his door 
And break his looking-glass." 



*& b' 



But while no one may be entirely wise, there are 
degrees of folly, and Jerry was not all kinds of a fool. 



XXIX 

MUTTERINGS OF THE STORM 

Events moved rapidly during the next few days. 
The reproduction, in the Chronicle, of the article from 
the Afro-American Banner, with Carteret's inflam- 
matory comment, took immediate effect. It touched 
the Southern white man in his most sensitive spot. 
To him such an article was an insult to white woman- 
hood, and must be resented by some active steps, — 
mere words would be no answer at all. To meet words 
with words upon such a subject would be to acknow- 
ledge the equality of the negro and his right to discuss 
or criticise the conduct of the white people. 

The colored people became alarmed at the murmur- 
ings of the whites, which seemed to presage a coming 
storm. A number of them sought to arm themselves, 
but ascertained, upon inquiring at the stores, that no 
white merchant would sell a negro firearms. Since 
all the dealers in this sort of merchandise were white 
men, the negroes had to be satisfied with oiling up 
the old army muskets which some of them possessed, 
and the few revolvers with which a small rowdy ele- 
ment generally managed to keep themselves supplied. 
Upon an effort being made to purchase firearms from 
a Northern city, the express company, controlled by 
local men, refused to accept the consignment. The 
white people, on the other hand, procured both arms 
and ammunition in large quantities, and the Welling- 



MUTTERINGS OF THE STORM 249 

ton Grays drilled with great assiduity at their ar- 
mory. 

All this went on without any public disturbance of 
the town's tranquillity. A stranger would have seen 
nothing to excite his curiosity. The white people did 
their talking among themselves, and merely grew more 
distant in their manner toward the colored folks, 
who instinctively closed their ranks as the whites 
drew away. With each day that passed the feeling 
grew more tense. The editor of the Afro- American 
Banner, whose office had been quietly garrisoned for 
several nights by armed negroes, became frightened, 
and disappeared from the town between two suns. 

The conspirators were jubilant at the complete 
success of their plans. It only remained for them to 
so direct this aroused public feeling that it might 
completely accomplish the desired end, — to change 
the political complexion of the city government and 
assure the ascendency of the whites until the amend- 
ment should go into effect. A revolution, and not a 
riot, was contemplated. 

With this end in view, another meeting was called 
at Carteret's office. 

" We are now ready," announced General Belmont, 
" for the final act of this drama. We must decide 
promptly, or events may run away from us." 

" What do you suggest ? " asked Carteret. 

" Down in the American tropics," continued the 
general, " they have a way of doing things. I was in 
Nicaragua, ten years ago, when Paterno's revolution 
drove out Igorroto's government. It was as easy as 
falling off a log. Paterno had the arms and the best 
men. Igorroto was not looking for trouble, and the 
guns were at his breast before he knew it. We have 



250 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the guns. The negroes are not expecting trouble, and 
are easy to manage compared with the fiery mixture 
that flourishes in the tropics." 

" I should not advocate murder," returned Carteret. 
" We are animated by high and holy principles. We 
wish to right a wrong, to remedy an abuse, to save our 
state from anarchy and our race from humiliation. 
I don't object to frightening the negroes, but I am 
opposed to unnecessary bloodshed." 

" I 'm not quite so particular," struck in McBane. 
"They need to be taught a lesson, and a nigger more 
or less would n't be missed. There 's too many of 'em 
now." 

" Of course," continued Carteret, " if we should 
decide upon a certain mode of procedure, and the 
negroes should resist, a different reasoning might 
apply ; but I will have no premeditated murder." 

" In Central and South America," observed the 
general reflectively, " none are hurt except those who 
get in the way." 

"There'll be no niggers hurt," said McBane con- 
temptuously, "unless they strain themselves running. 
One white man can chase a hundred of 'em. I 've 
managed five hundred at a time. I '11 pay for burying 
all the niggers that are killed." 

The conference resulted in a well-defined plan, to be 
put into operation the following day, by which the 
city government was to be wrested from the Republi- 
cans and their negro allies; 

" And now," said General Belmont, " while we are 
cleansing the Augean stables, we may as well remove 
the cause as the effect. There are several negroes too 
many in this town, which will be much the better 
without them. There 's that yellow lawyer, Watson. 



MUTTERINGS OF THE STORM 251 

He 's altogether too mouthy, and has too much 
business. Every nigger that gets into trouble sends 
for Watson, and white lawyers, with families to sup- 
port and social positions to keep up, are deprived of 
their legitimate source of income." 

" There's that damn nigger real estate agent," 
blurted out McBane. " Billy Kitchen used to get 
most of the nigger business, but this darky has almost 
driven him to the poorhouse. A white business man 
is entitled to a living in his own profession and his 
own home. That nigger don't belong here nohow. 
He came from the North a year or two ago, and is 
hand in glove with Barber, the nigger editor, which is 
enough of itself to damn him. He '11 have to go ! " 

" How about the collector of the port ? " 

" We 'd better not touch him. It would bring the 
government down upon us, which we want to avoid. 
We don't need to worry about the nigger preachers 
either. They want to stay here, where the loaves and 
the fishes are. We can make 'em write letters to the 
newspapers justifying our course, as a condition of 
their remaining." 

" What about Billings ? " asked McBane. Billings 
was the white Republican mayor. " Is that skunk to 
be allowed to stay in town?" 

" No," returned the general, " every white Re- 
publican office-holder ought to be made to go. This 
town is only big enough for Democrats, and negroes 
who can be taught to keep their place." 

" What about the colored doctor," queried McBane, 
" with the hospital, and the diamond ring, and the 
carriage, and the other fallals ? " 

" I should n't interfere with Miller," replied the 
general decisively. " He 's a very good sort of a 



252 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

negro, does n't meddle with politics, nor tread on any 
one else's toes. His father was a good citizen, which 
counts in his favor. He 's spending money in the 
community too, and contributes to its prosperity." 

" That sort of nigger, though, sets a bad example," 
retorted McBane. " They make it all the harder to 
keep the rest of 'em down." 

" ' One swallow does not make a summer,' " quoted 
the general. " When we get things arranged, there '11 
be no trouble. A stream cannot rise higher than its 
fountain, and a smart nigger without a constituency 
will no longer be an object of fear. I say, let the 
doctor alone." 

"He'll have to keep mighty quiet, though," mut- 
tered McBane discontentedly. "I don't like smart 
niggers. I 've had to shoot several of them, in the 
course of my life." 

" Personally, I dislike the man," interposed Car- 
teret, " and if I consulted my own inclinations, would 
say expel him with the rest; but my grievance is a 
personal one, and to gratify it in that way would be a 
loss to the community. I wish to be strictly impartial 
•in this matter, and to take no step which cannot 
be entirely justified by a wise regard for the public 
welfare." 

" What 's the use of all this hypocrisy, gentlemen ? " 
sneered McBane. " Every last one of us has an axe 
to grind ! The major may as well put an edge on his. 
We '11 never get a better chance to have things our 
way. If this nigger doctor annoys the major, we '11 
run him out with the rest. This is a white man's 
country, and a white man's city, and no nigger has 
any business here when a white man wants him gone ! ' : 

Carteret frowned darkly at this brutal characteri- 



MUTTERINGS OF THE STORM 253 

zation of their motives. It robbed the enterprise of 
all its poetry, and put a solemn act of revolution upon 
the plane of a mere vulgar theft of power. Even the 
general winced. 

" I would not consent," he said irritably, " to 
Miller's being disturbed." 

McBane made no further objection. 

There was a discreet knock at the door. 

" Come in," said Carteret. 

Jerry entered. " Mistuh Ellis wants ter speak ter 
you a minute, suh," he said. 

Carteret excused himself and left the room. 

" Jerry," said the general, "you lump of ebony, 
the sight of you reminds me ! If your master does n't 
want you for a minute, step across to Mr. Brown's 
and tell him to send me three cocktails." 

" Yas, suh," responded Jerry, hesitating. The 
general had said nothing about paying. 

" And tell him, Jerry, to charge them. I 'm short 
of change to-day." 

" Yas, suh ; yas, suh," replied Jerry, as he backed 
out of the presence, adding, when he had reached 
the hall : " Dere ain' no change fer Jerry dis time, 
sho' : I '11 jes' make datyb' cocktails, an' de gin'l won't 
never know de diffe'nce. I ain' gwine 'cross de road 
fer nothin', not ef I knows it." 

Half an hour later, the conspirators dispersed. 
They had fixed the hour of the proposed revolution, 
the course to be pursued, the results to be obtained ; 
but in stating their equation they had overlooked one 
factor, — God, or Fate, or whatever one may choose 
to call the Power that holds the destinies of man in 
the hollow of his hand. 



XXX 

THE MISSING PAPERS 

Mrs. Carteret was very much disturbed. It was 
supposed that the shock of her aunt's death had af- 
fected her health, for since that event she had fallen 
into a nervous condition which gave the major grave 
concern. Much to the general surprise, Mrs. Ochil- 
tree had left no will, and no property of any consid- 
erable value except her homestead, which descended 
to Mrs. Carteret as the natural heir. Whatever she 
may have had on hand in the way of ready money 
had undoubtedly been abstracted from the cedar 
chest by the midnight marauder, to whose visit her 
death was immediately due. Her niece's grief was 
held to mark a deep-seated affection for the grim old 
woman who had reared her. 

Mrs. Carteret's present state of mind, of which her 
nervousness was a sufficiently accurate reflection, did 
in truth date from her aunt's death, and also in part 
from the time of the conversation with Mrs. Ochil- 
tree, one afternoon, during and after the drive past 
Miller's new hospital. Mrs. Ochiltree had grown 
steadily more and more childish after that time, and 
her niece had never succeeded in making her pick up 
the thread of thought where it had been dropped. 
At any rate, Mrs. Ochiltree had made no further dis- 
closure upon the subject. 

An examination, not long after her aunt's death, 



THE MISSING PAPERS 255 

of the papers found near the cedar chest on the 
morning after the murder had contributed to Mrs. 
Carteret's enlightenment, but had not promoted her 
peace of mind. 

When Mrs. Carteret reached home, after her hur- 
ried exploration of the cedar chest, she thrust into a 
bureau drawer the envelope she had found. So fully 
was her mind occupied, for several days, with the 
funeral, and with the excitement attending the arrest 
of Sandy Campbell, that she deferred the examina- 
tion of the contents of the envelope until near the end 
of the week. 

One morning, while alone in her chamber, she drew 
the envelope from the drawer, and was holding it in 
her hand, hesitating as to whether or not she should 
open it, when the baby in the next room began to cry. 

The child's cry seemed like a warning, and yielding 
to a vague uneasiness, she put the paper back. 

" Phil," she said' to her husband at luncheon, 
" Aunt Polly said some strange things to me one day 
before she died, — I don't know whether she was 
quite in her right mind or not ; but suppose that my 
father had left a will by which it was provided that 
half his property should go to that woman and her 
child ? " 

" It would never have gone by such a will," replied 
the major easily. " Your Aunt Polly was in her 
dotage, and merely dreaming. Your father would 
never have been such a fool ; but even if he had, no 
such will could have stood the test of the courts. It 
would clearly have been due to the improper influence 
of a designing woman." 

" So that legally, as well as morally," said Mrs. 
Carteret, " the will would have been of no effect ? " 



256 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Not the slightest. A jury would soon have 
broken down the legal claim. As for any moral 
obligation, there would have been nothing moral 
about the affair. The only possible consideration for 
such a gift was an immoral one. I don't wish to 
speak harshly of your father, my dear, but his con- 
duct was gravely reprehensible. The woman herself 
had no right or claim whatever ; she would have 
been whipped and expelled from the town, if justice 
— blind, bleeding justice, then prostrate at the feet of 
slaves and aliens — could have had her way ! " 

" But the child " — 

" The child was in the same category. Who was 
she, to have inherited the estate of your ancestors, 
of which, a few years before, she would herself have 
formed a part ? The child of shame, it was hers to 
pay the penalty. But the discussion is all in the air, 
Olivia. Your father never did and never would have 
left such a will." 

This conversation relieved Mrs. Carteret's uneasi- 
ness. Going to her room shortly afterwards, she took 
the envelope from her bureau drawer and drew out a 
bulky paper. The haunting fear that it might be 
such a will as her aunt had suggested was now re- 
moved ; for such an instrument, in the light of what 
her husband had said confirming her own intuitions, 
would be of no valid effect. It might be just as 
well, she thought, to throw the paper in the fire 
without looking at it. She wished to think as well 
as might be of her father, and she felt that her re- 
spect for his memory* would not be strengthened by 
the knowledge that he had meant to leave his estate 
away from her ; for her aunt's words had been open 
to the construction that she was to have been left 



• 



THE MISSING PAPERS 257 

destitute. Curiosity strongly prompted her to read 
the paper. Perhaps the will contained no such pro- 
vision as she had feared, and it might convey some 
request or direction which ought properly to be com- 
plied with. 

She had been standing in front of the bureau while 
these thoughts passed through her mind, and now, 
dropping the envelope back into the drawer mechani- 
cally, she unfolded the document. It was written on 
legal paper, in her father's own hand. 

Mrs. Carteret was not familiar with legal verbi- 
age, and there were several expressions of which she 
did not perhaps appreciate the full effect ; but a very 
hasty glance enabled her to ascertain the purport of 
the paper. It was a will, by which, in one item, her 
father devised to his daughter Janet, the child of the 
woman known as Julia Brown, the sum of ten thou- 
sand dollars, and a certain plantation or tract of land 
a short distance from the town of Wellington. The 
rest and residue of his estate, after deducting all 
legal charges and expenses, was bequeathed to his 
beloved daughter, Olivia Merkell. 

Mrs. Carteret breathed a sigh of relief. Her father 
had not preferred another to her, but had left to his 
lawful daughter the bulk of his estate. She felt at 
the same time a growing indignation at the thought 
that that woman should so have wrought upon her 
father's weakness as to induce him to think of leaving 
so much valuable property to her bastard, — property 
which by right should go, and now would go, to her 
own son, to whom by every rule of law and decency 
it ought to descend. 

A fire was burning in the next room, on account of 
the baby, — there had been a light frost the night 



258 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

before, and the air was somewhat chilly. For the 
moment the room was empty. Mrs. Carteret eame 
out from her chamber and threw the offending paper 
into the fire, and watched it slow]y burn. When it 
had been consumed, the carbon residue of one sheet 
still retained its form, and she could read the words 
on the charred portion. A sentence, which had 
escaped her eye in her rapid reading, stood out in 
ghostly black upon the gray background : — 

" All the rest and residue of my estate I devise and 
bequeath to my daughter Olivia Merkell, the child 
of my beloved first wife." 

Mrs. Carteret had not before observed the word 
"first." Instinctively she stretched toward the fire 
the poker which she held in her hand, and at its touch 
the shadowy remnant fell to pieces, and nothing but 
ashes remained upon the hearth. 

Not until the next morning did she think again of 
the envelope which had contained the paper she had 
burned. Opening the drawer where it lay, the oblong 
blue envelope confronted her. The sight of it was 
distasteful. The indorsed side lay uppermost, and 
the words seemed like a mute reproach : — 

"The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Mer- 
kell." 

Snatching up the envelope, she glanced into it 
mechanically as she moved toward the next room, and 
perceived a thin folded paper which had heretofore 
escaped her notice. When opened, it proved to be a 
certificate of marriage, in due form, between Samuel 
Merkell and Julia Brown. It was dated from a 
county in South Carolina, about two years before her 
father's death. 

For a moment Mrs. Carteret stood gazing blankly 



THE MISSING PAPERS 259 

at this faded slip of paper. Her father had married 
this woman ! — at least he had gone through the form 
of marriage with her, for to him it had surely been 
no more than an empty formality. The marriage of 
white and colored persons was forbidden by law. 
Only recently she had read of a case where both the 
parties to such a crime, a colored man and a white 
woman, had been sentenced to long terms in the peni- 
tentiary. She even recalled the circumstances. The 
couple had been living together unlawfully, — they 
were very low people, whose private lives were be- 
neath the public notice, — but influenced by a religious 
movement pervading the community, had sought, they 
said at the trial, to secure the blessing of God upon 
their union. The higher law, which imperiously de- 
manded that the purity and prestige of the white 
race be preserved at any cost, had intervened at this 
point. 

Mechanically she moved toward the fireplace, so 
dazed by this discovery as to be scarcely conscious of 
her own actions. She surely had not formed any defi- 
nite intention of destroying this piece of paper when 
her fingers relaxed unconsciously and let go their hold 
upon it. The draught swept it toward the fireplace. 
Ere scarcely touching the flames it caught, blazed 
fiercely, and shot upward with the current of air. A 
moment later the record of poor Julia's marriage was 
scattered to the four winds of heaven, as her poor 
body had long since mingled with the dust of earth. 

The letter remained unread. In her agitation at 
the discovery of the marriage certificate, Olivia had 
almost forgotten the existence of the letter. It was 
addressed to "John Delamere, Esq., as Executor of 
my Last Will and Testament," while the lower left- 



260 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

hand corner bore the direction : " To be delivered 
only after my death, with seal unbroken." 

The seal was broken already; Mr. Delamere was 
dead ; the letter could never be delivered. Mrs. Car- 
teret unfolded it and read : — 

My Dear Delamere, — I have taken the liberty 
of naming you as executor of my last will, because 
you are my friend, and the only man of my acquaint- 
ance whom I feel that I can trust to carry out my 
wishes, appreciate my motives, and preserve the 
silence I desire. 

I have, first, a confession to make. Inclosed in 
this letter you will find a certificate of marriage be- 
tween my child Janet's mother and myself. While I 
have never exactly repented of this marriage, I have 
never had the courage to acknowledge it openly. If 
I had not married Julia, I fear Polly Ochiltree would 
have married me by main force, — as she would 
marry you or any other gentleman unfortunate enough 
to fall in the way of this twice-widowed man-hunter. 
When my wife died, three years ago, her sister Polly 
offered to keep house for me and the child. I would 
sooner have had the devil in the house, and yet I trem- 
bled with alarm, — there seemed no way of escape, 
— it was so clearly and obviously the proper thing. 

But she herself gave me my opportunity. I was 
on the point of consenting, when she demanded, as a 
condition of her coming, that I discharge Julia, my 
late wife's maid. She was laboring under a misappre- 
hension in regard to the girl, but I grasped at the 
straw, and did everything to foster her delusion. I 
declared solemnly that nothing under heaven would 
induce me to part with Julia. The controversy re- 



THE MISSING PAPERS 261 

suited in my permitting Polly to take the child, while 
I retained the maid. 

Before Polly put this idea into my head, I had 
scarcely looked at Julia, but this outbreak turned my 
attention toward her. She was a handsome girl, and, 
as I soon found out, a good girl. My wife, who raised 
her, was a Christian woman, and had taught her 
modesty and virtue. She was free. The air was full 
of liberty, and equal rights, and all the abolition clap- 
trap, and she made marriage a condition of her re- 
maining longer in the house. In a moment of weak- 
ness I took her away to a place where we were not 
known, and married her. If she had left me, I should 
have fallen a victim to Polly Ochiltree, — to which 
any fate was preferable. 

And then, old friend, my weakness kept to the 
fore. I was ashamed of this marriage, and my new 
wife saw it. Moreover, she loved me, — too well, 
indeed, to wish to make me unhappy. The ceremony 
had satisfied her conscience, had set her right, she 
said, with God ; for the opinions of men she did not 
care, since I loved her, — she only wanted to compen- 
sate me, as best she could, for the great honor I had 
done my handmaiden, — for she had read her Bible, 
and I was the Abraham to her Hagar, compared 
with whom she considered herself at a great advan- 
tage. It was her own proposition that nothing be said 
of this marriage. If any shame should fall on her, 
it would fall lightly, for it would be undeserved. 
When the child came, she still kept silence. No one, 
she argued, could blame an innocent child for the 
accident of birth, and in the sight of God this child 
had every right to exist ; while among her own peo- 
ple illegitimacy would involve but little stigma. 



262 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

I need not say that I was easily persuaded to 
accept this sacrifice ; but touched by her fidelity, I 
swore to provide handsomely for them both. This I 
have tried to do by the will of which I ask you to 
act as executor. Had I left the child more, it might 
serve as a ground for attacking the will ; my acknow- 
ledgment of the tie of blood is sufficient to justify a 
reasonable bequest. 

I have taken this course for the sake of my 
daughter Olivia, who is dear to me, and whom I 
would not wish to make ashamed ; and in deference 
to public opinion, which it is not easy to defy. If, 
after my death, Julia should choose to make our se- 
cret known, I shall of course be beyond the reach of 
hard words ; but loyalty to my memory will probably 
keep her silent. A strong man would long since have 
acknowledged her before the world and taken the con- 
sequences ; but, alas ! I am only myself, and the 
atmosphere I live in does not encourage moral hero- 
ism. I should like to be different, but it is God who 
hath made us, and not we ourselves ! 

Nevertheless, old friend, I will ask of you one 
favor. If in the future this child of Julia's and of 
mine should grow to womanhood ; if she should prove 
to have her mother's gentleness and love of virtue ; if, 
in the new era which is opening up for her mother's 
race, to which, unfortunately, she must belong, she 
should become, in time, an educated woman ; and if 
the time should ever come when, by virtue of her 
education or the development of her people, it would 
be to her a source of shame or unhappiness that she 
was an illegitimate child, — if you are still alive, old 
friend, and have the means of knowing or divining 
this thing, go to her and tell her, for me, that she is 



THE MISSING PAPERS 263 

my lawful child, and ask her to forgive her father's 
weakness. 

When this letter comes to you, I shall have passed 
to — the Beyond ; but I am confident that you will 
accept this trust, for which I thank you now, in ad- 
vance, most heartily. 

The letter was signed with her father's name, the 
same signature which had been attached to the will. 

Having firmly convinced herself of the illegality of 
the papers, and of her own right to destroy them, Mrs. 
Carteret ought to have felt relieved that she had thus 
removed all traces of her dead father's folly. True, 
the other daughter remained, — she had seen her on 
the street only the day before. The sight of this per- 
son she had always found offensive, and now, she felt, 
in view of what she had just learned, it must be even 
more so. Never, while this woman lived in the town, 
would, she be able to throw the veil of forgetfulness 
over this blot upon her father's memory. 

As the day wore on, Mrs. Carteret grew still less at 
ease. To herself, marriage was a serious thing, — to 
a right-thinking woman the most serious concern of 
life. A marriage certificate, rightfully procured, was 
scarcely less solemn, so far as it went, than the Bible 
itself. Her own she cherished as the apple of her eye. 
It was the evidence of her wifehood, the seal of her 
child's legitimacy, her patent of nobility, — the token 
of her own and her child's claim to social place and 
consideration. She had burned this pretended mar- 
riage certificate because it meant nothing. Neverthe- 
less, she could not ignore the knowledge of another 
such marriage, of which every one in the town knew, 
— a celebrated case, indeed, where a white man, of a 



264 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

family quite as prominent as her father's, had mar- 
ried a colored woman during the military occupation 
of the state just after the civil war. The. legality of 
the marriage had never been questioned. It had been 
fully consummated by twenty years of subsequent co- 
habitation. No amount of social persecution had ever 
shaken the position of the husband. With an iron 
will he had stayed on in the town, a living protest 
against the established customs of the South, so rudely 
interrupted for a few short years ; and, though his 
children were negroes, though he had never appeared 
in public with his wife, no one had ever questioned 
the validity of his marriage or the legitimacy of his 
offspring. 

The marriage certificate which Mrs. Carteret had 
burned dated from the period of the military occupa- 
tion. Hence Mrs. Carteret, who was a good woman, 
and would not have done a dishonest thing, felt decid- 
edly uncomfortable. She had destroyed the marriage 
certificate, but its ghost still haunted her. 

Major Carteret, having just eaten a good dinner, 
was in a verv agreeable humor when, that same even- 
ing, his wife brought up again the subject of their 
previous discussion. 

" Phil," she asked, " Aunt Polly told me that once, 
long before my father died, when she went to remon- 
strate with him for keeping that woman in the house, 
he threatened to marry Julia if Aunt Polly ever said 
another word to him about the matter. Suppose he 
had married her, and had then left a will, — would the 
marriage have made any difference, so far as the will 
was concerned ? " 

Major Carteret laughed. " Your Aunt Polly," he 
said, " was a remarkable woman, with a wonderful 



THE MISSING PAPERS 265 

imagination, which seems to have grown more vivid 
as her memory and judgment weakened. Why should 
your father marry his negro housemaid ? Mr. Merkell 
was never rated as a fool, — he had one of the clearest 
heads in Wellington. I saw him only a day or two 
before he died, and I could swear before any court in 
Christendom that he was of sound mind and memory 
to the last. These notions of your aunt were mere 
delusions. Your father was never capable of such a 
folly." 

" Of course I am only supposing -a case," returned 
Olivia. " Imagining such a case, just for the argu- 
ment, would the marriage have been legal ? " 

" That would depend. If he had married her dur- 
ing the military occupation, or over in South Caro- 
lina, the marriage would have been legally valid, 
though morally and socially outrageous." 

" And if he had died afterwards, leaving a will ? " 

" The will would have controlled the disposition of 
his estate, in all probability." 

" Suppose he had left no will ? " 

" You are getting the matter down pretty fine, my 
dear ! The woman would have taken one third of the 
real estate for life, and could have lived in the home- 
stead until she died. She would also have had half 
the other property, — the money and goods and furni- 
ture, everything except the land, — and the negro 
child would have shared with you the balance of the 
estate. That, I believe, is according to the law of 
descent and distribution." 

Mrs. Carteret lapsed into a troubled silence. Her 
father had married the woman. In her heart she had 
no doubt of the validity of the marriage, so far as the 
law was concerned ; if one marriage of such a kind 



266 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

would stand, another contracted under similar condi- 
tions was equally as good. If the marriage had been 
valid, Julia's child had been legitimate. The will she 
had burned gave this sister of hers — she shuddered 
at the word — but a small part of the estate. Under 
the law, which intervened now that there was no will, 
the property should have been equally divided. If the 
woman had been white, — but the woman had not 
been white, and the same rule of moral conduct did 
not, could not, in the very nature of things, apply, 
as between white people ! For, if this were not so, 
slavery had been, not merely an economic mistake, 
but a great crime against humanity. If it had been 
such a crime, as for a moment she dimly perceived it 
might have been, then through the long centuries 
there had been piled up a catalogue of wrong and out- 
rage which, if the law of compensation be a law of 
nature, must some time, somewhere, in some way, be 
atoned for. She herself had not escaped the penalty, 
of which, she realized, this burden placed upon her 
conscience was but another installment. 

If she should make known the facts she had learned, 
it would mean what? — a division of her father's estate, 
a recognition of the legality of her father's relations 
with Julia. Such a stain upon her father's memory 
would be infinitely worse than if he had not married 
her. To have lived with her without marriage was a 
social misdemeanor, at which society in the old days 
had winked, or at most had frowned. To have married 
her was to have committed the unpardonable social 
sin. Such a scandal Mrs. Carteret could not have en- 
dured. Should she seek to make restitution, it would 
necessarily involve the disclosure of at least some of 
the facts. Had she not destroyed the will, she might 



THE MISSING PAPERS 267 

have compromised with her conscience by producing 
it and acting upon its terms, which had been so 
stated as not to disclose the marriage. This was now 
rendered impossible by her own impulsive act ; she 
could not mention the will at all, without admitting 
that she had destroyed it. 

Mrs. Carteret found herself in what might be called, 
vulgarly, a moral " pocket." She could, of course, 
remain silent. Mrs. Carteret was a good woman, ac- 
cording to her lights, with a cultivated conscience, to 
which she had always looked as her mentor and infal- 
lible guide. 

Hence Mrs. Carteret, after this painful discovery, 
remained for a long time ill at ease, — so disturbed, 
indeed, that her mind reacted upon her nerves, which 
had never been strong ; and her nervousness affected 
her strength, which had never been great, until Car- 
teret, whose love for her had been deepened and 
strengthened by the advent of his son, became alarmed 
for her health, and spoke very seriously to Dr. Price 
concerning it. 



XXXI 

THE SHADOW OF A DREAM 

Mrs. Carteret awoke, with a start, from a, troubled 
dream. She had been sailing across a sunlit sea, in a 
beautiful boat, her child tying on a bright-colored 
cushion at her feet. Overhead the swelling sail served 
as an awning to keep oif the sun's rays, which far 
ahead were reflected with dazzling brilliancy from the 
shores of a golden island. Her son, she dreamed, 
was a fairy prince, and yonder lay his kingdom, to 
which he was being borne, lying there at her feet, in 
this beautiful boat, across the sunlit sea. 

Suddenly and without warning the sky was over- 
cast. A squall struck the boat and tore away the sail. 
In the distance a huge billow — a great white wall of 
water — came sweeping toward their frail craft, 
threatening it with instant destruction. She clasped 
her child to her bosom, and a moment later found 
herself struggling in the sea, holding the child's head 
above the water. As she floated there, as though sus- 
tained by some unseen force, she saw in the distance a 
small boat approaching over the storm-tossed waves. 
Straight toward her it came, and she had reached out 
her hand to grasp its side, when the rower looked 
back, and she saw that it was her sister. The recog- 
nition had been mutual. ^Vith a sharp movement of 
one oar the boat glided by, leaving her clutching at 
the empty air. 



THE SHADOW OF A DREAM 269 

She felt her strength begin to fail. Despairingly 
she signaled with her disengaged hand; but the 
rower, after one mute, reproachful glance, rowed on. 
Mrs. Carteret's strength grew less and less. The child 
became heavy as lead. Herself floating in the water, 
as though it were her native element, she could no 
longer support the child. Lower and lower it sank, 

— she was powerless to save it or to accompany it, 

— until, gasping wildly for breath, it threw up its 
little hands and sank, the cruel water gurgling over 
its head, — when she awoke with a start and a chill, 
and lay there trembling for several minutes before 
she heard little Dodie in his crib, breathing heavily. 

She rose softly, went to the crib, and changed the 
child's position to an easier one. He breathed more 
freely, and she went back to bed, but not to sleep. 

She had tried to put aside the distressing questions 
raised by the discovery of her father's will and the 
papers accompanying it. Why should she be burdened 
with such a responsibility, at this late day, when the 
touch of time had well-nigh healed these old sores ? 
Surely, God had put his curse not alone upon the slave, 
but upon the stealer of men ! With other good people 
she had thanked Him that slavery was no more, and 
that those who once had borne its burden upon their 
consciences could stand erect and feel that they them- 
selves were free. The weed had been cut down, but 
its roots remained, deeply imbedded in the soil, to 
spring up and trouble a new generation. Upon her 
weak shoulders was placed the burden of her father's 
weakness, her father's folly. It was left to her to 
acknowledge or not this shameful marriage and her 
sister's rights in their father's estate. 

Balancing one consideration against another, she 



270 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

had almost decided that she might ignore this tie. To 
herself, Olivia Merkell, — Olivia Carteret, — the 
stigma of base birth would have meant social ostra- 
cism, social ruin, the averted face, the finger of pity or 
of scorn. All the traditional weight of public disap- 
proval would have fallen upon her as the unhappy 
fruit of an unblessed union. To this other woman 
it could have had no such significance, — it had been 
the lot of her race. To them, twenty-five years before, 
sexual sin had never been imputed as more than a 
fault. She had lost nothing by her supposed illegiti- 
macy ; she would gain nothing by the acknowledg- 
ment of her mother's marriage. 

On the other hand, what would be the effect of this 
revelation upon Mrs. Carteret herself ? To have it 
known that her father had married a negress would 
only be less dreadful than to have it appear that he 
had committed some terrible crime. It was a crime 
now, by the laws of every Southern State, for white 
and colored persons to intermarry. She shuddered 
before the possibility that at some time in the future 
some person, none too well informed, might learn that 
her father had married a colored woman, and might 
assume that she, Olivia Carteret, or her child, had 
sprung from this shocking mesalliance, — a fate to 
which she would willingly have preferred death. No, 
this marriage must never be made known ; the secret 
should remain buried forever in her own heart ! 

But there still remained the question of her father's 
property and her father's will. This woman was her 
father's child, — of that there could be no doubt, it 
was written in her features no less than in her father's 
will. As his lawful child, — of which, alas ! there 
could also be no question, — she was entitled by law 



THE SHADOW OF A DREAM 271 

to half his estate. Mrs. Carteret's problem had sunk 
from the realm of sentiment to that of material things, 
which, curiously enough, she found much more diffi- 
cult. For, while the negro, by the traditions of her 
people, was barred from the world of sentiment, his 
rights of property were recognized. The question had 
become, with Mrs. Carteret, a question of meum and 
tuum. Had the girl Janet been poor, ignorant, or de- 
graded, as might well have been her fate, Mrs. Car- 
teret might have felt a vicarious remorse for her aunt's 
suppression of the papers ; but fate had compensated 
Janet for the loss ; she had been educated, she had 
married well ; she had not suffered for lack of the 
money of which she had been defrauded, and did not 
need it now. She had a child, it is true, but this 
child's career would be so circumscribed by the acci- 
dent of color that too much wealth would only be a 
source of unhappiness ; to her own child, on the con- 
trary, it would open every door of life. 

It would be too lengthy a task to follow the mind 
and conscience of this much-tried lady in their intri- 
cate workings upon this difficult problem ; for she had 
a mind as logical as any woman's, and a conscience 
which she wished to keep void of offense. She had to 
confront a situation involving the element of race, 
upon which the moral standards of her people were 
hopelessly confused. Mrs. Carteret reached the con- 
clusion, ere daylight dawned, that she would be si- 
lent upon the subject of her father's second marriage. 
Neither party had wished it known, — neither Julia 
nor her father, — and she would respect her father's 
wishes. To act otherwise would be to defeat his will, 
to make known what he had carefully concealed, and 
to give Janet a claim of title to one half her father's 



272 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

estate, while he had only meant her to have the ten 
thousand dollars named in the will. 

By the same reasoning, she must carry out her fa- 
ther's will in respect to this bequest. Here there was 
another difficulty. The mining investment into which 
they had entered shortly after the birth of little Dodie 
had tied up so much of her property that it would have 
been difficult to procure ten thousand dollars immedi- 
ately ; while a demand for half the property at once 
would mean bankruptcy and ruin. Moreover, upon 
what ground could she offer her sister any sum of 
money whatever ? So sudden a change of heart, after 
so many years of silence, would raise the presump- 
tion of some right on the part of Janet in her father's 
estate. Suspicion once aroused, it might be possible 
to trace this hidden marriage, and establish it by 
legal proof. The marriage once verified, the claim 
for half the estate could not be denied. She could 
not plead her father's will to the contrary, for this 
would be to acknowledge the suppression of the will, 
in itself a criminal act. 

There was, however, a way of escape. This hospital 
which had recently been opened was the personal 
property of her sister's husband. Some time in the 
future, when their investments matured, she would 
present to the hospital a sum of money equal to the 
amount her father had meant his colored daughter to 
have. Thus indirectly both her father's will and her 
own conscience would be satisfied. 

Mrs. Carteret had reached this comfortable con- 
clusion, and was falling asleep, when her attention 
was again drawn by her child's breathing. She took 
it in her own arms and soon fell asleep. 

" By the way, Olivia," said the major, when leav- 



THE SHADOW OF A DREAM 273 

ing the house next morning for the office, " if you 
have any business down town to-day, transact it this 
forenoon. Under no circumstances must you or Clara 
or the baby leave the house after midday." 

" Why, what 's the matter, Phil ? " 

" Nothing to alarm you, except that there may be a 
little political demonstration which may render the 
streets unsafe. You are not to say anything about it 
where the servants might hear." 

" Will there be any danger for you, Phil ? " she 
demanded with alarm. 

"Not the slightest, Olivia dear. No one will be 
harmed ; but it is best for ladies and children to stay 
indoors." 

Mrs. Carteret's nerves were still more or less un- 
strung from her mental struggles of the night, and 
the memory of her dream came to her like a dim fore- 
boding of misfortune. As though in sympathy with 
its mother's feelings, the baby did not seem as well 
as usual. The new nurse was by no means an ideal 
nurse, — Mammy Jane understood the child much 
better. If there should be any trouble with the 
negroes, toward which her husband's remark seemed 
to point, — she knew the general political situation, 
though not informed in regard to her husband's plans, 
— she would like to have Mammy Jane near her, 
where the old nurse might be protected from danger 
or alarm. 

With this end in view she dispatched the nurse, 
shortly after breakfast, to Mammy Jane's house in the 
negro settlement on the other side of the town, with 
a message asking the old woman to come immediately 
to Mrs. Carteret's. Unfortunately, Mammy Jane had 
gone to visit a sick woman in the country, and was 
not expected to return for several hours. 



XXXII 

THE STORM BREAKS 

The Wellington riot began at three o'clock in the 
afternoon of a day as fair as was ever selected for a 
deed of darkness. The sky was clear, except for a 
few light clouds that floated, white and feathery, high 
in air, like distant islands in a sapphire sea. A salt- 
laden breeze from the ocean a few miles away lent a 
crisp sparkle to the air. 

At three o'clock sharp the streets were filled, as if 
by magic, with armed white men. The negroes, going 
about, had noted, with uneasy curiosity, that the 
stores and places of business, many of which closed 
at noon, were unduly late in opening for the after- 
noon, though no one suspected the reason for the delay ; 
but at three o'clock every passing colored man was 
ordered, by the first white man he met, to throw up 
his hands. If he complied, he was searched, more 
or less roughly, for firearms, and then warned to get 
off the street. When he met another group of white 
men the scene was repeated. The man thus sum- 
marily held up seldom encountered more than two 
groups before disappearing across lots to his own 
home or some convenient hiding-place. If he resisted 
any demand of those who halted him — But the 
records of the day are historical ; they may be found 
in the newspapers of the following date, but they are 
more firmly engraved upon the hearts and memories 



THE STORM BREAKS 275 

of the people of Wellington. For many months there 
were negro families in the town whose children 
screamed with fear and ran to their mothers for pro- 
tection at the mere sight of a white man. 

Dr. Miller had received a call, about one o'clock, 
to attend a case at the house of a well-to-do colored 
farmer, who lived some three or four miles from the 
town, upon the very road, by the way, along which 
Miller had driven so furiously a few weeks before, in 
the few hours that intervened before Sandy Campbell 
would probably have been burned at the stake. The 
drive to his patient's home, the necessary inquiries, 
the filling of the prescription from his own medicine- 
case, which he carried along with him, the little 
friendly conversation about the weather and the 
crops, and, the farmer being an intelligent and think- 
ing man, the inevitable subject of the future of their 
race, — these, added to the return journey, occupied 
at least two hours of Miller's time. 

As he neared the town on his way back, he saw 
ahead of him half a dozen men and women approach- 
ing, with fear written in their faces, in every degree 
from apprehension to terror. Women were weeping 
and children crying, and all were going as fast as 
seemingly lay in their power, looking behind now and 
then as if pursued by some deadly enemy. At sight 
of Miller's buggy they made a dash for cover, dis- 
appearing, like a covey of frightened partridges, in 
the underbrush along the road. 

Miller pulled up his horse and looked after them 
in startled wonder. 

" What on earth can be the matter ? " he muttered, 
struck with a vague feeling of alarm. A psycholo- 
gist, seeking to trace the effects of slavery upon the 



276 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

human mind, might find in the South many a curious 
illustration of this curse, abiding long after the actual 
physical bondage had terminated. In the olden time 
the white South labored under the constant fear of 
negro insurrections. Knowing that they themselves, 
if in the negroes' place, would have risen in the effort 
to throw off the yoke, all their reiterated theories of 
negro subordination and inferiority could not remove 
that lurking fear, founded upon the obscure con- 
sciousness that the slaves ought to have risen. Con- 
science, it has been said, makes cowards of us all. 
There was never, on the continent of America, a 
successful slave revolt, nor one which lasted more 
than a few hours, or resulted in the loss of more than 
a few white lives ; yet never was the planter quite free 
from the fear that there might be one. 

On the other hand, the slave had before his eyes 
always the fear of the master. There were good men, 
according to their lights, — according to their train- 
ing and environment, — among the Southern slave- 
holders, who treated their slaves kindly, as slaves, 
from principle, because they recognized the claims 
of humanity, even under the dark skin of a human 
chattel. There was many a one who protected or 
pampered his negroes, as the case might be, just as 
a man fondles his dog, — because they were his ; they 
were a part of his estate, an integral part of the 
entity of property and person which made up the 
aristocrat ; but with all this kindness, there was 
always present, in the consciousness of the lowest 
slave, the knowledge that he was in his master's 
power, and that he could make no effectual protest 
against the abuse of that authority. There was also 
the knowledge, among those who could think at all, 



THE STORM BREAKS 277 

that the best of masters was himself a slave to a sys- 
tem, which hampered his movements but scarcely less 
than those of his bondmen. 

When, therefore, Miller saw these men and women 
scampering into the bushes, he divined, with this 
slumbering race consciousness which years of culture 
had not obliterated, that there was some race trouble 
on foot. His intuition did not long remain unsup- 
ported. A black head was cautiously protruded from 
the shrubbery, and a black voice — if such a descrip- 
tion be allowable — addressed him : — 

" Is dat you, Doctuh Miller? " 

" Yes. Who are you, and what 's the trouble ? " 

" What 's de trouble, suh ? Why, all hell 's broke 
loose in town yonduh. De w'ite folks is riz 'gins' de 
niggers, an' say dey 're gwine ter kill eve'y nigger 
dey kin lay han's on." 

Miller's heart leaped to his throat, as he thought 
of his wife and child. This story was preposterous ; 
it could not be true, and yet there must be something 
in it. He tried to question his informant, but the 
man was so overcome with excitement and fear that 
Miller saw clearly that he must go farther for infor- 
mation. He had read in the Morning Chronicle, a 
few days before, the obnoxious editorial quoted from 
the Afro-American Banner, and had noted the com- 
ment upon it by the white editor. He had felt, as at 
the time of its first publication, that the editorial was 
ill-advised. It could do no good, and was calculated 
to arouse the animosity of those whose friendship, 
whose tolerance, at least, was necessary and almost 
indispensable to the colored people. They were liv- 
ing, at the best, in a sort of armed neutrality with the 
whites ; such a publication, however serviceable else- 



278 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

where, could have no other effect in Wellington than 
to endanger this truce and defeat the hope of a pos- 
sible future friendship. The right of free speech 
entitled Barber to publish it ; a larger measure of 
common-sense would have made him withhold it. 
Whether it was the republication of this article that 
had stirred up anew the sleeping dogs of race pre- 
judice and whetted their thirst for blood, he could not 
yet tell ; but at any rate, there was mischief on foot. 

" Per God's sake, doctuh, don' go no closeter ter 
dat town," pleaded his informant, " er you '11 be killt 
sho'. Come on wid us, suh, an' tek keer er yo'se'f. 
We 're gwine ter hide in de swamps till dis thing is 
over ! " 

" God, man ! " exclaimed Miller, urging his horse 
forward, " my wife and child are in the town ! " 

Fortunately, he reflected, there were no patients 
confined in the hospital, — if there should be anything 
in this preposterous story. To one unfamiliar with 
Southern life, it might have seemed impossible that 
these good Christian people, who thronged the 
churches on Sunday, and wept over the sufferings of 
the lowly Nazarene, and sent missionaries to the hea- 
then, could be hungering and thirsting for the blood 
of their fellow men ; but Miller cherished no such 
delusion. He knew the history of his country ; he 
had the threatened lynching of Sandy Campbell viv- 
idly in mind ; and he was fully persuaded that to race 
prejudice, once roused, any horror was possible. That 
women or children would be molested of set purpose 
he did not believe, but that they might suffer by 
accident was more than likely. 

As he neared the town, dashing forward at the top 
of his horse's speed, he heard his voice called in a 



THE STORM BREAKS 279 

loud and agitated tone, and, glancing around him, saw 
a familiar form standing by the roadside, gesticulat- 
ing vehemently. 

He drew up the horse with a suddenness that 
threw the faithful and obedient animal back upon its 
haunches. The colored lawyer, Watson, came up to 
the buggy. That he was laboring under great and 
unusual excitement was quite apparent from his pale 
face and frightened air. 

" What 's the matter, Watson ? " demanded Miller, 
hoping now to obtain some reliable information. 

" Matter ! " exclaimed the other. " Everything 's 
the matter ! The white people are up in arms. They 
have disarmed the colored people, killing half a dozen 
in the process, and wounding as many more. They 
have forced the mayor and aldermen to resign, have 
formed a provisional city government a la frangaise, 
and have ordered me and half a dozen other fellows 
to leave town in forty-eight hours, under pain of sud- 
den death. As they seem to mean it, I shall not stay 
so long. Fortunately, my wife and children are away. 
I knew you were out here, however, and I thought I 'd 
come out and wait for you, so that we might talk the 
matter over. I don't imagine they mean you any harm, 
personally, because you tread on nobody's toes ; but 
you 're too valuable a man for the race to lose, so 
I thought I 'd give you warning. I shall want to 
sell you my property, too, at a bargain. For I 'm 
worth too much to my family to dream of ever at- 
tempting to live here again." 

" Have you seen anything of my wife and child ? " 
asked Miller, intent upon the danger to which they 
might be exposed. 

" No ; I did n't go to the house. I inquired at the 



280 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

drugstore and found out where you had gone. You 
need n't fear for them, — it is not a war on women and 
children." 

" War of any kind is always hardest on the women 
and children," returned Miller ; " I must hurry on and 
see that mine are safe." 

" They '11 not carry the war so far into Africa as 
that," returned Watson ; " but I never saw anything 
like it. Yesterday I had a hundred white friends in 
the town, or thought I had, — men who spoke plea- 
santly to me on the street, and sometimes gave me 
their hands to shake. Not one of them said to me to- 
day : 4 Watson, stay at home this afternoon.' I might 
have been killed, like any one of half a dozen others 
who have bit the dust, for any word that one of my 
' friends ' had said to warn me. When the race cry 
is started in this neck of the woods, friendship, reli- 
gion, humanity, reason, all shrivel up like dry leaves 
in a raging furnace." 

The buggy, into which Watson had climbed, was 
meanwhile rapidly nearing the town. 

" I think I '11 leave you here, Miller," said Watson, 
as they approached the outskirts, " and make my way 
home by a roundabout path, as I should like to get 
there unmolested. Home ! — a beautiful word that, 
is n't it, for an exiled wanderer ? It might not be 
well, either, for us to be seen together. If you put 
the hood of your buggy down, and sit well back in the 
shadow, you may be able to reach home without inter- 
ruption ; but avoid the main streets. I '11 see you 
again this evening, if we 're both alive, and I can 
reach you ; for my time is short. A committee are 
to call in the morning to escort me to the train. I 
am to be dismissed from the community with public 
honors." 



THE STORM BREAKS 281 

Watson was climbing down from the buggy, when 
a small party of men were seen approaching, and big 
Josh Green, followed by several other resolute-look- 
ing colored men, came up and addressed them. 

" Dr. Miller," cried Green, " Mr. Watson, — we 're 
lookin' fer a leader. De w'ite folks are killin' de 
niggers, an' we am' gwine ter stan' up an' be shot 
down like dogs. We 're gwine ter defen' ou' lives, an' 
we ain' gwine ter run away f 'm no place where we 've 
got a right ter be ; an' woe be ter de w'ite man w'at 
lays han's on us ! Dere 's two niggers in dis town ter 
eve'y w'ite man, an' ef we 've got ter be killt, we '11 
take some w'ite folks 'long wid us, ez sho' ez dere 's a 
God in heaven, — ez I s'pose dere is, dough He mus' be 
'sleep, er busy somewhar e'se ter-day. Will you-all 
come an' lead us ? " 

" Gentlemen," said Watson, " what is the use ? 
The negroes will not back you up. They have n't the 
arms, nor the moral courage, nor the leadership." 

" We '11 git de arms, an' we '11 git de courage, ef 
you '11 come an' lead us ! We wants leaders, — dat 's 
w'y we come ter you ! " 

" What 's the use ? " returned Watson despairingly. 
" The odds are too heavy. I 've been ordered out 
of town ; if I stayed, I 'd be shot on sight, unless I 
had a body-guard around me." 

"We '11 be yo' body-guard ! " shouted half a dozen 
voices. 

" And when my body-guard was shot, what then ? 
I have a wife and children. It is my duty to live for 
them. If I died, I should get no glory and no reward, 
and my family would be reduced to beggary, — to 
which they '11 soon be near enough as it is. This 
affair will blow over in a day or two. The white 



282 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

people will be ashamed of themselves to-morrow, and 
apprehensive of the consequences for some time to 
come. Keep quiet, boys, and trust in God. You 
won't gain anything by resistance." 

" ' God he'ps dem dat he'ps demselves,' " returned 
Josh stoutly. " Ef Mr. Watson won't lead us, will 
you, Dr. Miller ? " said the spokesman, turning to the 
doctor. 

For Miller it was an agonizing moment. He was 
no coward, morally or physically. Every manly in- 
stinct urged him to go forward and take up the cause 
of these leaderless people, and, if need be, to defend 
their lives and their rights with his own, — but to 
what end ? 

" Listen, men," he said. " We would only be 
throwing our lives away. Suppose we made a deter- 
mined stand and won a temporary victory. By morn- 
ing every train, every boat, every road leading into 
Wellington, would be crowded with white men, — as 
they probably will be any way, — with arms in their 
hands, curses on their lips, and vengeance in their 
hearts. In the minds of those who make and admin- 
ister the laws, we have no standing in the court of 
conscience. They would kill us in the fight, or they 
would hang us afterwards, — one way or another, we 
should be doomed. I should like to lead you ; I 
should like to arm every colored man in this town, and 
have them stand firmly in line, not for attack, but for 
defense ; but if I attempted it, and they should stand 
by me, which is questionable, — for I have met them 
fleeing from the town, — my life would pay the forfeit. 
Alive, I may be of some use to you, and you are 
welcome to my life in that way, — I am giving it 
freely. Dead, I should be a mere lump of carrion. 



THE STORM BREAKS 283 

Who remembers even the names of those who have 
been done to death in the Southern States for the 
past twenty years ? " 

" I 'members de name er one of 'em," said Josh, 
" an' I 'members de name er de man dat killt 'im, an' 
I s'pec' his time is mighty nigh come." 

" My advice is not heroic, but I think it is wise. 
In this riot we are placed as we should be in a war : 
we have no territory, no base of supplies, no organiza- 
tion, no outside sympathy, — we stand in the position 
of a race, in a case like this, without money and with- 
out friends. Our time will come, — the time when 
we can command respect for our rights ; but it is not 
yet in sight. Give it up, boys, and wait. Good may 
come of this, after all." 

Several of the men wavered, and looked irresolute. 

" I reckon that 's all so, doctuh," returned Josh, 
" an', de way j^ou put it, I don' blame you ner Mr. 
Watson ; but all dem reasons ain' got no weight wid 
me. I 'm gwine in dat town, an' ef any w'ite man 
'sturbs me, dere '11 be trouble, — dere '11 be double 
trouble, — I feels it in my bones ! " 

" Remember your old mother, Josh," said Miller. 

" Yas, suh, I '11 'member her ; dat 's all I kin do 
now. I don' need ter wait fer her no mo', fer she 
died dis mo'nin'. I 'd lack ter see her buried, suh, 
but I may not have de chance. Ef I gits killt, will 
you do me a favor ? " 

" Yes, Josh ; what is it ? " 

" Ef I should git laid out in dis commotion d'at 's 
gwine on, will you collec' my wages f 'm yo' brother, 
and see dat de ole 'oman is put away right? " 

" Yes, of course." 

" Wid a nice coffin, an' a nice fune'al, an' a head- 
bo'dan'afoot-bo'd?" 



284 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Yes." 

" All right, suh ! Ef I don' live ter do it, I '11 
know it'll be 'tended ter right. Now we're gwine out 
ter de cotton compress, an' git a lot er colored men 
tergether, an' ef de w'ite folks 'sturbs me, I should n't 
be s'prise' ef dere 'd be a mix-up ; — an' ef dere is, me 
an one w'ite man '11 stan' befo' de jedgment th'one er 
God dis day ; an' it won't be me w'at '11 be 'feared er 
de jedgment. Come along, boys ! Dese gentlemen 
may have somethin' ter live fer ; but ez fer my pa't, 
I 'd ruther be a dead nigger any day dan a live dog ! " 



XXXIII 

INTO THE LION'S JAWS 

The party under Josh's leadership moved off down 
the road. Miller, while entirely convinced that he had 
acted wisely in declining to accompany them, was yet 
conscious of a distinct feeling of shame and envy that 
he, too, did not feel impelled to throw away his life in 
a hopeless struggle. 

Watson left the buggy and disappeared by a path 
at the roadside. Miller drove rapidly forward. After 
entering the town, he passed several small parties of 
white men, but escaped scrutiny by sitting well back 
in his buggy, the presumption being that a well- 
dressed man with a good horse and buggy was white. 
Torn with anxiety, he reached home at about four 
o'clock. Driving the horse into the yard, he sprang 
down from the buggy and hastened to the house, 
which he found locked, front and rear. 

A repeated rapping brought no response. At 
length he broke a window, and entered the house like 
a thief. 

" Janet, Janet ! " he called in alarm, " where are 
you ? It is only I, — Will ! " 

There was no reply. He ran from room to room, 
only to find them all empty. Again he called his 
wife's name, and was about rushing from the house, 
when a muffled voice came faintly to his ear, — 

" Is dat you, Doctuh Miller? " 



286 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Yes. Who are you, and where are my wife and 
child?" 

He was looking around in perplexity, when the door 
of a low closet under the kitchen sink was opened from 
within, and a woolly head was cautiously protruded. 

" Are you sAo' dat 's you, doctuh ? " 

" Yes, Sally ; where are " — 

" An' not some w'ite man come ter bu'n down de 
house an' kill all de niggers ? " 

" No, Sally, it 's me all right. Where is my wife ? 
Where is my child ? " 

" Dey went over ter see Mis' Butler 'long 'bout two 
o'clock, befo' dis fuss broke out, suh. Oh, Lawdy, 
Lawdy, suh ! Is all de cullud folks be'n killt 'cep'n' 
me an' you, suh ? Fer de Lawd's sake, suh, you won' 
let 'em kill me, will you, suh ? I '11 wuk fer you fer 
nuthin', suh, all my bawn days, ef you '11 save my life, 
suh ! " 

" Calm yourself, Sally. You '11 be safe enough if 
you stay right here, I 've no doubt. They '11 not harm 
women, — of that I 'm sure enough, although I have n't 
yet got the bearings of this deplorable affair. Stay 
here and look after the house. I must find my wife 
and child ! " 

The distance across the city to the home of the Mrs. 
Butler whom his wife had gone to visit was exactly 
one mile. Though Miller had a good horse in front 
of him, he was two hours in reaching his destination. 
Never will the picture of that ride fade from his 
memory. In his dreams he repeats it night after 
night, and sees the sights that wounded his eyes, 
and feels the thoughts — the haunting spirits of the 
thoughts — that tore his heart as he rode through hell 
to find those whom he was seeking. 



INTO THE LION'S JAWS 287 

For a short distance he saw nothing, and made 
rapid progress. As he turned the first corner, his 
horse shied at the dead body of a negro, lying huddled 
up in the collapse which marks sudden death. What 
Miller shuddered at was not so much the thought of 
death, to the sight of which his profession had accus- 
tomed him, as the suggestion of what it signified. He 
had taken with allowance the wild statement of the 
fleeing fugitives. Watson, too, had been greatly ex- 
cited, and Josh Green's group were desperate men, 
as much liable to be misled by their courage as the 
others by their fears ; but here was proof that mur- 
der had been done, — and his wife and children were 
in the town. Distant shouts, and the sound of fire- 
arms, increased his alarm. He struck his horse with 
the whip, and dashed on toward the heart of the city, 
which he must traverse in order to reach Janet and 
the child. 

At the next corner lay the body of another man, 
with the red blood oozing from a ghastly wound in 
the forehead. The negroes seemed to have been killed, 
as the band plays in circus parades, at the street inter- 
sections, where the example would be most effective. 
Miller, with a wild leap of the heart, had barely passed 
this gruesome spectacle, when a sharp voice com- 
manded him to halt, and emphasized the order by 
covering him with a revolver. Forgetting the pru- 
dence he had preached to others, he had raised his 
whip to strike the horse, when several hands seized 
the bridle. 

" Come down, you damn fool," growled an author- 
itative voice. " Don't you see we 're in earnest ? Do 
you want to get killed ? " 

" Why should I come down ? " asked Miller. 



288 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Because we 've ordered you to come down ! This 
is the white people's day, and when they order, a 
nigger must obey. We're going to search you for 
weapons." 

" Search away. You '11 find nothing but a case of 
surgeon's tools, which I 'm more than likely to need 
before this day is over, from all indications." 

" No matter ; we '11 make sure of it ! That 's what 
we 're here for. Come down, if you don't want to be 
pulled down ! " 

Miller stepped down from his buggy. His inter- 
locutor, who made no effort at disguise, was a clerk 
in a dry-goods store where Miller bought most of his 
family and hospital supplies. He made no sign of 
recognition, however, and Miller claimed no acquaint- 
ance. This man, who had for several years emptied 
Miller's pockets in the course of more or less legiti- 
mate trade, now went through them, aided by another 
man, more rapidly than ever before, the searchers 
convincing themselves that Miller carried no deadly 
weapon upon his person. Meanwhile, a third ran- 
sacked the buggy with like result. Miller recognized 
several others of the party, who made not the slightest 
attempt at disguise, though no names were called by 
any one. 

" Where are you going ? " demanded the leader. 

" I am looking for my wife and child," replied 
Miller. 

" Well, run along, and keep them out of the streets 
when you find them ; and keep your hands out of this 
affair, if you wish to live in this town, which from 
now on will be a white man's town, as you niggers 
will be pretty firmly convinced before night." 

Miller drove on as swiftly as might be. 



INTO THE LION'S JAWS 289 

At the next corner he was stopped again. In the 
white man who held him up, Miller recognized a neigh- 
bor of his own. After a short detention and a perfunc- 
tory search, the white man remarked apologetically : — 

" Sorry to have had to trouble you, doctuh, but 
them 's the o'ders. It ain't men like you that we 're 
after, but the vicious and criminal class of niggers." 

Miller smiled bitterly as he urged his horse for- 
ward. He was quite well aware that the virtuous citi- 
zen who had stopped him had only a few weeks before 
finished a term in the penitentiary, to which he had 
been sentenced for stealing. Miller knew that he 
could have bought all the man owned for fifty dollars, 
and his soul for as much more. 

A few rods farther on, he came near running over 
the body of a wounded man who lay groaning by the 
wayside. Every professional instinct urged him to 
stop and offer aid to the sufferer ; but the uncertainty 
concerning his wife and child proved a stronger mo- 
tive and urged him resistlessly forward. Here and 
there the ominous sound of firearms was audible. He 
might have thought this merely a part of the show, 
like the " powder play " of the Arabs, but for the 
bloody confirmation of its earnestness which had 
already assailed his vision. Somewhere in this seeth- 
ing caldron of unrestrained passions were his wife and 
child, and he must hurry on. 

His progress was painfully slow. Three times he 
was stopped and searched. More than once his way 
was barred, and he was ordered to turn back, each 
such occasion requiring a detour which consumed 
many minutes. The man who last stopped him was 
a well-known Jewish merchant. A Jew — God of 
Moses ! — had so far forgotten twenty centuries of 



290 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

history as to join in the persecution of another op- 
pressed race ! When almost reduced to despair by 
these innumerable delays, he perceived, coming 
toward him, Mr. Ellis, the sub-editor of the Morning 
Chronicle. Miller had just been stopped and ques- 
tioned again, and Ellis came up as he was starting 
once more upon his endless ride. 

" Dr. Miller," said Ellis kindly, " it is dangerous 
for you on the streets. Why tempt the danger ? " 

" I am looking for my wife and child," returned 
Miller in desperation. " They are somewhere in this 
town, — 1 don't know where, — and I must find 
them." 

Ellis had been horror-stricken by the tragedy of the 
afternoon, the wholly superfluous slaughter of a harm- 
less people, whom a show of force would have been 
quite sufficient to overawe. Elaborate explanations 
were afterwards given for these murders, which were 
said, perhaps truthfully, not to have been premedi- 
tated, and many regrets were expressed. The young 
man had been surprised, quite as much as the negroes 
themselves, at the ferocity displayed. His own 
thoughts and feelings were attuned to anything but 
slaughter. Only that morning he had received a per- 
fumed note, calling his attention to what the writer 
described as a very noble deed of his, and requesting 
him to call that evening and receive the writer's 
thanks. Had he known that Miss Pemberton, several 
weeks after their visit to the Sound, had driven out 
again to the hotel and made some inquiries among the 
servants, he might have understood better the mean- 
ing of this missive. When Miller spoke of his wife 
and child, some subtle thread of suggestion coupled 
the note with Miller's plight. 



INTO THE LION'S JAWS 291 

" I '11 go with you, Dr. Miller," he said, " if you '11 
permit me. In my company you will not be dis- 
turbed." 

He took a seat in Miller's buggy, after which it was 
not molested. 

Neither of them spoke. Miller was sick at heart ; 
he could have wept with grief, even had the welfare 
of his own dear ones not been involved in this regret- 
table affair. With prophetic instinct he foresaw the 
hatreds to which this day would give birth ; the long 
years of constraint and distrust which would still 
further widen the breach between two peoples whom 
fate had thrown together in one community. 

There was nothing for Ellis to say. In his heart 
he could not defend the deeds of this day. The petty 
annoyances which the whites had felt at the spectacle 
of a few negroes in office ; the not unnatural resent- 
ment of a proud people at what had seemed to them a 
presumptuous freedom of speech and lack of deference 
on the part of their inferiors, — these things, which 
he knew were to be made the excuse for overturning 
the city government, he realized full well were no 
sort of justification for the wholesale murder or other 
horrors which might well ensue before the day was 
done. He could not approve the acts of his own 
people ; neither could he, to a negro, condemn them. 
Hence he was silent. 

" Thank you, Mr. Ellis," exclaimed Miller, when 
they had reached the house where he expected to find 
his wife. " This is the place where I was going. I 
am — under a great obligation to you." 

" Not at all, Dr. Miller. I need not tell you how 
much I regret this deplorable affair." 

Ellis went back down the street. Fastening his 



292 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

horse to the fence, Miller sprang forward to find his 
wife and child. They would certainly be there, for 
no colored woman would be foolhardy enough to ven- 
ture on the streets after the riot had broken out. 

As he drew nearer, he felt a sudden apprehension. 
The house seemed strangely silent and deserted. The 
doors were closed, and the Venetian blinds shut tightly. 
Even a dog which had appeared slunk timidly back 
under the house, instead of barking vociferously ac- 
cording to the usual habit of his kind. 



XXXIY 

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

Miller knocked at the door. There was no re- 
sponse. He went round to the rear of the house. The 
dog had slunk behind the woodpile. Miller knocked 
again, at the back door, and, receiving no reply, called 
aloud. 

" Mrs. Butler ! It is I, Dr. Miller. Is my wife 
here?" 

The slats of a near-by blind opened cautiously. 

" Is it really you, Dr. Miller? " 

" Yes, Mrs. Butler. I am looking for my wife and 
child, — are they here ? " 

" No, sir ; she became alarmed about you, soon 
after the shooting commenced, and I could not keep 
her. She left for home half an hour ago. It is 
coming on dusk, and she and the child are so near 
white that she did not expect to be molested." 

" Which way did she go?" 

" She meant to go by the main street. She thought 
it would be less dangerous than the back streets. 
I tried to get her to stay here, but she was frantic 
about you, and nothing I could say would keep her. 
Is the riot almost over, Dr. Miller? Do you think 
they will murder us all, and burn down our houses ? " 

" God knows," replied Miller, with a groan. " But 
I must find her, if I lose my own life in the attempt." 

Surely, he thought, Janet would be safe. The 



294 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

white people of Wellington were not savages ; or at 
least their temporary reversion to savagery would 
not go as far as to include violence to delicate women 
and children. Then there flashed into his mind Josh 
Green's story of his " silly " mother, who for twenty 
years had walked the earth as a child, as the result of 
one night's terror, and his heart sank within him. 

Miller realized that his buggy, by attracting atten- 
tion, had been a hindrance rather than a help in his 
progress across the city. In order to follow his wife, 
he must practically retrace his steps over the very 
route he had come. Night was falling. It would be 
easier to cross the town on foot. In the dusk his own 
color, slight in the daytime, would not attract atten- 
tion, and by dodging in the shadows he might avoid 
those who might wish to intercept him. But he must 
reach Janet and the boy at any risk. He had not been 
willing to throw his life away hopelessly, but he would 
cheerfully have sacrificed it for those whom he loved. 

He had gone but a short distance, and had not yet 
reached the centre of mob activity, when he inter- 
cepted a band of negro laborers from the cotton com- 
press, with big Josh Green at their head. 

" Hello, doctuh! " cried Josh, "does you wan' ter 
j me us r 

" I 'm looking for my wife and child, Josh. They 're 
somewhere in this den of murderers. Have any of 
you seen them ? " 

No one had seen them. 

" You men are running a great risk," said Miller. 
" You are rushing on to certain death." 

" Well, suh, maybe we is ; but we 're gwine ter die 
fightin'. Dey say de w'ite folks is gwine ter bu'n all 
de cullud schools an' chu'ches, an' kill all de niggers 



THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 295 

dey kin ketch. Dey 're gwine ter bu'n yo' new hos- 
pittle, ef somebody don' stop 'em." 

" Josh — men — you are throwing your lives away. 
It is a fever ; it will wear off to-morrow, or to-night. 
They '11 not burn the schoolhouses, nor the hospital 
— they are not such fools, for they benefit the com- 
munity ; and they '11 only kill the colored people who 
resist them. Every one of you with a gun or a pistol 
carries his death warrant in his own hand. I 'd 
rather see the hospital burn than have one of you lose 
his life. Resistance only makes the matter worse, — 
the odds against you are too long." 

" Things can't be any wuss, doctuh," replied one 
of the crowd sturdily. " A gun is mo' dange'ous ter 
de man in front of it dan ter de man behin' it. 
Dey 're gwine ter kill us anyhow ; an' we 're tired, — 
we read de newspapers, — an' we 're tired er bein' shot 
down like dogs, widout jedge er jury. We 'd ruther 
die fightin' dan be stuck like pigs in a pen ! " 

" God help you ! " said Miller. " As for me, I 
must find my wife and child." 

" Good-by, doctuh," cried Josh, brandishing a huge 
knife. " 'Member 'bout de ole 'oman, ef you lives thoo 
dis. Don' fergit de headbo'd an' de footbo'd, an' a 
silver plate on de coffin, ef dere 's money ernuff." 

They went their way, and Miller hurried on. They 
might resist attack ; he thought it extremely unlikely 
that they would begin it ; but he knew perfectly well 
that the mere knowledge that some of the negroes 
contemplated resistance would only further inflame the 
infuriated whites. The colored men might win a 
momentary victory, though it was extremely doubtful ; 
and they would as surely reap the harvest later on. 
The qualities which in a white man would win the 



296 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

applause of the world would in a negro be taken as 
the marks of savagery. So thoroughly diseased was 
public opinion in matters of race that the negro who 
died for the common rights of humanity might look 
for no meed of admiration or glory. At such a time, 
in the white man's eyes, a negro's courage would be 
mere desperation ; his love of liberty, a mere animal 
dislike of restraint. Every finer human instinct 
would be interpreted in terms of savagery. Or, if 
forced to admire, they would none the less repress. 
They would applaud his courage while they stretched 
his neck, or carried off the fragments of his mangled 
body as souvenirs, in much the same way that savages 
preserve the scalps or eat the hearts of their enemies. 

But concern for the fate of Josh and his friends 
occupied only a secondary place in Miller's mind for 
the moment. His wife and child were somewhere 
ahead of him. He pushed on. He had covered about 
a quarter of a mile more, and far down the street 
could see the signs of greater animation, when he came 
upon the body of a woman lying upon the sidewalk. 
In the dusk he had almost stumbled over it, and his 
heart came up in his mouth. A second glance re- 
vealed that it could not be his wife. It was a fearful 
portent, however, of what her fate might be. The 
" war " had reached the women and children. Yield- 
ing to a professional instinct, he stooped, and saw that 
the prostrate form was that of old Aunt Jane Letlow. 
She was not yet quite dead, and as Miller, with a 
tender touch, placed her head in a more comfortable 
position, her lips moved with a last lingering flicker 
of consciousness : — 

" Comin', missis, comin' ! " 

Mammy Jane had gone to join the old mistress upon 



THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 297 

whose memory her heart was fixed ; and yet not all 
her reverence for her old mistress, nor all her defer- 
ence to the whites, nor all their friendship for her, 
had been able to save her from this raging devil of 
race hatred which momentarily possessed the town. 

Perceiving that he could do no good, Miller has- 
tened onward, sick at heart. Whenever he saw a party 
of white men approaching, — these brave reformers 
never went singly, — he sought concealment in the 
shadow of a tree or the shrubbery in some yard until 
they had passed. He had covered about two thirds 
of the distance homeward, when his eyes fell upon 
a group beneath a lamp-post, at sight of which he 
turned pale with horror, and rushed forward with a 
terrible cry. 



XXXV 

" MINE ENEMY, O MINE ENEMY ! " 

The proceedings of the day — planned originally as 
a " demonstration," dignified subsequently as a " revo- 
lution," under any name the culmination of the con- 
spiracy formed by Carteret and his colleagues — had 
by seven o'clock in the afternoon developed into a 
murderous riot. Crowds of white men and half -grown 
boys, drunk with whiskey or with license, raged 
through the streets, beating, chasing, or killing any 
negro so unfortunate as to fall into their hands. 
Why any particular negro was assailed, no one 
stopped to inquire ; it was merely a white mob thirst- 
ing for black blood, with no more conscience or dis- 
crimination than would be exercised by a wolf in a 
sheepf old. It was race against race, the whites against 
the negroes ; and it was a one-sided affair, for until 
Josh Green got together his body of armed men, no 
effective resistance had been made by any colored 
person, and the individuals who had been killed had 
so far left no marks upon the enemy by which they 
might be remembered. 

" Kill the niggers ! " rang out now and then through 
the dusk, and far down the street and along the inter- 
secting thoroughfares distant voices took up the omi- 
nous refrain, — " Kill the niggers ! Kill the damned 
niggers ! " 



"MINE ENEMY, O MINE ENEMY!" 299 

Now, not a dark face had been seen on the street 
for half an hour, until the group of men headed by 
Josh made their appearance in the negro quarter. 
Armed with guns and axes, they presented quite a 
formidable appearance as they made their way toward 
the new hospital, near which stood a schoolhouse and 
a large church, both used by the colored people. 
They did not reach their destination without having 
met a number of white men, singly or in twos or 
threes ; and the rumor spread with incredible swift- 
ness that the negroes in turn were up in arms, deter- 
mined to massacre all the whites and burn the town. 
Some of the whites became alarmed, and recognizing 
the power of the negroes, if armed and conscious of 
their strength, were impressed by the immediate neces- 
sity of overpowering and overawing them. Others, 
with appetites already whetted by slaughter, saw a 
chance, welcome rather than not, of shedding more 
black blood. Spontaneously the white mob flocked 
toward the hospital, where rumor had it that a large 
body of desperate negroes, breathing threats of blood 
and fire, had taken a determined stand. 

It had been Josh's plan merely to remain quietly 
and peaceably in the neighborhood of the little group 
of public institutions, molesting no one, unless first 
attacked, and merely letting the white people see 
that they meant to protect their own ; but so rapidly 
did the rumor spread, and so promptly did the white 
people act, that by the time Josh and his supporters 
had reached the top of the rising groundi where the 
hospital stood, a crowd of white men much more 
numerous than their own party were following them 
at a short distance. 

Josh, with the eye of a general, perceived that some 



300 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

of his party were becoming a little nervous, and de- 
cided that they would feel safer behind shelter. 

" I reckon we better go inside de hospittle, boys," 
he exclaimed. " Den we '11 be behind brick walls, 
an' dem other fellows '11 be outside, an' ef dere 's any 
fightin', we '11 have de bes' show. We ain' gwine ter 
do no shootin' till we 're pestered, an' dey '11 be less 
likely ter pester us ef dey can't git at us widout run- 
nin' some resk. Come along in ! Be men ! De 
gov'ner er de President is gwine ter sen' soldiers ter 
stop dese gwines-on, an' meantime we kin keep dem 
white devils f'm bu'nin' down our hospittles an' 
chu'ch-houses. Wen dey comes an' fin's out dat We 
jes' means ter pertect ou' prope'ty, dey '11 go 'long 
'bout deir own business. Er, ef dey wants a scrap, 
dey kin have it ! Come erlong, boys ! " 

Jerry Letlow, who had kept out of sight during the 
day, had started out, after night had set in, to find 
Major Carteret. Jerry was very much afraid. The 
events of the day had filled him with terror. What- 
ever the limitations of Jerry's mind or character may 
have been, Jerry had a keen appreciation of the 
danger to the negroes when they came in conflict with 
the whites, and he had no desire to imperil his own 
skin. He valued his life for his own sake, and not 
for any altruistic theory that it might be of service to 
others. In other words, Jerry was something of a 
coward. He had kept in hiding all day, but finding, 
toward evening, that the riot did not abate, and fear- 
ing, from the rumors which came to his ears, that all 
the negroes would be exterminated, he had set out, 
somewhat desperately, to try to find his white patron 
and protector. He had been cautious to avoid meet- 



"MINE ENEMY, O MINE ENEMY!" 301 

ing any white men, and, anticipating no danger from 
those of his own race, went toward the party which 
he saw approaching, whose path would cross his 
own. When they were only a few yards apart, 
Josh took a step forward and caught Jerry by the 
arm. 

" Come along, Jerry, we need you ! Here 's another 
man, boys. Come on now, and fight fer yo' race ! " 

In vain Jerry protested. " I don' wan' ter fight," 
he howled. " De w'ite folks ain' gwine ter pester 
me ; dey 're my f rien's. Tu'n me loose, — tu'n me 
loose, er we all gwine ter git killed ! " 

The party paid no attention to Jerry's protesta- 
tions. Indeed, with the crowd of whites following 
behind, they were simply considering the question of 
a position from which they could most effectively 
defend themselves and the building which they ima- 
gined to be threatened. If Josh had released his grip 
of Jerry, that worthy could easily have escaped from 
the crowd ; but Josh maintained his hold almost 
mechanically, and, in the confusion, Jerry found him- 
self swept with the rest into the hospital, the doors 
of which were promptly barricaded with the heavier 
pieces of furniture, and the windows manned by 
several men each, Josh, with the instinct of a born 
commander, posting his forces so that they could 
cover with their guns all the approaches to the build- 
ing. Jerry still continuing to make himself trouble- 
some, Josh, in a moment of impatience, gave him a 
terrific box on the ear, which stretched him out upon 
the floor unconscious. 

" Shet up," he said ; " ef you can't stan' up like a 
man, keep still, and don't interfere wid men w'at will 
fight ! " 



302 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

The hospital, when Josh and his men took posses- 
sion, had been found deserted. Fortunately there 
were no patients for that day, except one or two con- 
valescents, and these, with the attendants, had joined 
the exodus of the colored people from the town. 

A white man advanced from the crowd without 
toward the main entrance to the hospital. Big Josh, 
looking out from a window, grasped his gun more 
firmly, as his eyes fell upon the man who had mur- 
dered his father and darkened his mother's life. Me- 
chanically he raised his rifle, but lowered it as the 
white man lifted up his hand as a sign that he wished 
to speak. 

" You niggers," called Captain McBane loudly, — 
it was that worthy, — " you niggers are courtin' death, 
an' you won't have to court her but a minute er two 
mo' befo' she '11 have you. If you surrender and give 
up your arms, you '11 be dealt with leniently, — you 
may get off with the chain-gang or the penitentiary. 
If you resist, you '11 be shot like dogs." 

" Dat 's no news, Mr. White Man," replied Josh, 
appearing boldly at the window. " We 're use' ter 
bein' treated like dogs by men like you. If you w'ite 
people will go 'long an' ten' ter yo' own business an' 
let us alone, we '11 ten' ter ou'n. You 've got guns, an' 
we 've got jest as much right ter carry 'em as you 
have. Lay down yo'n, an' we '11 lay down ou'n, — we 
did n' take 'em up fust ; but we ain' gwine ter let 
you bu'n down ou' chu'ches an' school'ouses, er dis 
hospittle, an' we ain' comin' out er dis house, where 
we ain' disturbin 5 nobody, fer you ter shoot us down 
er sen' us ter jail. You hear me ! " 

" All right," responded McBane. " You 've had fair 
warning. Your blood be on your " — 



"MINE ENEMY, O MINE ENEMY!" 303 

His speech was interrupted by a shot from the 
crowd, which splintered the window-casing close to 
Josh's head. This was followed by half a dozen other 
shots, which were replied to, almost simultaneously, 
by a volley from within, by which one of the attack- 
ing party was killed and another wounded. 

This roused the mob to frenzy. 

" Vengeance ! vengeance ! " they yelled. " Kill the 
niggers ! " 

A negro had killed a white man, — the unpardon- 
able sin, admitting neither excuse, justification, nor 
extenuation. From time immemorial it had been 
bred in the Southern white consciousness, and in the 
negro consciousness also, for that matter, that the 
person of a white man was sacred from the touch of 
a negro, no matter what the provocation. A dozen 
colored men lay dead in the streets of Wellington, 
inoffensive people, slain in cold blood because they 
had been bold enough to question the authority of 
those who had assailed them, or frightened enough to 
flee when they had been ordered to stand still ; but 
their lives counted nothing against that of a riotous 
white man, who had courted death by attacking a 
body of armed men. 

The crowd, too, surrounding the hospital, had 
changed somewhat in character. The men who had 
acted as leaders in the early afternoon, having accom- 
plished their purpose of overturning the local admin- 
istration and establishing a provisional government of 
their own, had withdrawn from active participation in 
the rioting, deeming the negroes already sufficiently 
overawed to render unlikely any further trouble from 
that source. Several of the ringleaders had indeed 
begun to exert themselves to prevent further disorder, 



304 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

or any loss of property, the possibility of which had 
become apparent; but those who set in motion the 
forces of evil cannot always control them afterwards. 
The baser element of the white population, recruited 
from the wharves and the saloons, was now pre- 
dominant. 

Captain McBane was the only one of the revolu- 
tionary committee who had remained with the mob, 
not with any purpose to restore or preserve order, 
but because he found the company and the occasion 
entirely congenial. He had had no opportunity, at 
least no tenable excuse, to kill or maim a negro since 
the termination of his contract with the state for 
convicts, and this occasion had awakened a dormant 
appetite for these diversions. We are all puppets in 
the hands of Fate, and seldom see the strings that 
move us. McBane had lived a life of violence and 
cruelty. As a man sows, so shall he reap. In works 
of fiction, such men are sometimes converted. More 
often, in real life, they do not change their natures 
until they are converted into dust. One does well to 
distrust a tamed tiger. 

On the outskirts of the crowd a few of the better 
class, or at least of the better clad, were looking on. 
The double volley described had already been fired, 
when the number of these was augmented by the 
arrival of Major Carteret and Mr. Ellis, who had just 
come from the Chronicle office, where the next day's 
paper had been in hasty preparation. They pushed 
their way towards the front of the crowd. 

"This must be stopped, Ellis," said Carteret. 
" They are burning houses and killing women and 
children. Old Jane, good old Mammy Jane, who 
nursed my wife at her bosom, and has waited on her 



"MINE ENEMY, MINE ENEMY!" 305 

and my child within a few weeks, was killed only a few 
rods from my house, to which she was evidently fleeing 
for protection. It must have been by accident, — I 
cannot believe that any white man in town would be 
dastard enough to commit such a deed intentionally ! 
I would have defended her with my own life ! We 
must try to stop this thing ! " 

" Easier said than done," returned Ellis. " It is in 
the fever stage, and must burn itself out. We shall 
be lucky if it does not burn the town out. Suppose 
the negroes should also take a hand at the burning ? 
We have advised the people to put the negroes down, 
and they are doing the job thoroughly." 

" My God ! "• replied the other, with a gesture of 
impatience, as he continued to elbow his way through 
the crowd ; " I meant to keep them in their places, 
— I did not intend wholesale murder and arson." 

Carteret, having reached the front of the mob, made 
an effort to gain their attention. 

" Gentlemen ! " he cried in his loudest tones. His 
voice, unfortunately, was neither loud nor piercing. 

" Kill the niggers J " clamored the mob. 

" Gentlemen, I implore you " — 

The crash of a dozen windows, broken by stones 
and pistol shots, drowned his voice. 

" Gentlemen ! " he shouted ; "this is murder, it is 
madness ; it is a disgrace to our city, to our state, to 
our civilization ! " 

" That 's right ! " replied several voices. The mob 
had recognized the speaker. " It is a disgrace, and 
we '11 not put up with it a moment longer. Burn 'em 
out! Hurrah for Major Carteret, the champion of 
1 white supremacy ' ! Three cheers for the Morning 
Chronicle and c no nigger domination ' ! " 



306 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah ! " yelled the crowd. 

In vain the baffled orator gesticulated and shrieked 
in the effort to correct the misapprehension. Their 
oracle had spoken ; not hearing what he said, they 
assumed it to mean encouragement and cooperation. 
Their present course was but the logical outcome of the 
crusade which the Morning Chronicle had preached, 
in season and out of season, for many months. When 
Carteret had spoken, and the crowd had cheered him, 
they felt that they had done all that courtesy required, 
and he was good-naturedly elbowed aside while they 
proceeded with the work in hand, which was now to 
drive out the negroes from the hospital and avenge 
the killing of their comrade. 

Some brought hay, some kerosene, and others wood 
from a pile which had been thrown into a vacant lot 
near by. Several safe ways of approach to the build- 
ing were discovered, and the combustibles placed and 
fired. The flames, soon gaining a foothold, leaped 
upward, catching here and there at the exposed wood- 
work, and licking the walls hungrily with long tongues 
of flame. 

Meanwhile a desultory firing was kept up from the 
outside, which was replied to scatteringly from within 
the hospital. Those inside were either not good 
marksmen, or excitement had spoiled their aim. If a 
face appeared at a window, a dozen pistol shots from 
the crowd sought the spot immediately. 

Higher and higher leaped the flames. Suddenly 
from one of the windows sprang a black figure, waving 
a white handkerchief. It was Jerry Letlow. Re- 
gaining consciousness after the effect of Josh's blow 
had subsided, Jerry had kept quiet and watched his 
opportunity. From a safe vantage-ground he had 



"MINE ENEMY, O MINE ENEMY!" 307 

scanned the crowd without, in search of some white 
friend. When he saw Major Carteret moving dis- 
consolately away after his futile effort to stem the 
torrent, Jerry made a dash for the window. He 
sprang forth, and, waving his handkerchief as a flag of 
truce, ran toward Major Carteret, shouting franti- 
cally : — 

" Majah Carteret — majah ! It 's me, suh, Jerry, 
suh ! I did n' go in dere myse'f, suh, — I wuz drag' 
in dere ! I would n' do nothin' 'g'inst de w'ite folks, 
suh, — no, 'ndeed, I would n', suh ! " 

Jerry's cries were drowned in a roar of rage and a 
volley of shots from the mob. Carteret, who had turned 
away with Ellis, did not even hear his servant's voice. 
Jerry's poor flag of truce, his explanations, his reli- 
ance upon his white friends, all failed him in the 
moment of supreme need. In that hour, as in any 
hour when the depths of race hatred are stirred, a 
negro was no more than a brute beast, set upon by 
other brute beasts whose only instinct was to kill and 
destroy. 

"Let us leave this inferno, Ellis," said Carteret, 
sick with anger and disgust. He had just become 
aware that a negro was being killed, though he did 
not know whom. " We can do nothing. The negroes 
have themselves to blame, — they tempted us beyond 
endurance. I counseled firmness, and firm measures 
were taken, and our purpose was accomplished. * I 
am not responsible for these subsequent horrors, — I 
wash my hands of them. Let us go ! " 

The flames gained headway and gradually enveloped 
the burning building, until it became evident to those 
within as well as those without that the position of 
the defenders was no longer tenable. Would they 



308 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

die in the flames, or would they be driven out ? The 
uncertainty soon came to an end. 

The besieged had been willing to fight, so long as 
there seemed a hope of successfully defending them- 
selves and their property ; for their purpose was 
purely one of defense. When they saw the case was 
hopeless, inspired by Josh Green's reckless courage, 
they were still willing to sell their lives dearly. One 
or two of them had already been killed, and as many 
more disabled. The fate of Jerry Letlow had struck 
terror to the hearts of several others, who could 
scarcely hide their fear. After the building had 
been fired, Josh's exhortations were no longer able to 
keep them in the hospital. They preferred to fight 
and be killed in the open, rather than to be smoth- 
ered like rats in a hole. 

" Boys ! " exclaimed Josh, — " men ! — fer nobody 
but men would do w'at you have done, — the day has 
gone 'g'inst us. We kin see ou' finish; but fer my 
part, I ain' gwine ter leave dis worl' widout takin' a 
w'ite man 'long wid me, an' I sees my man right out 
yonder waitin', — I be'n waitin' fer him twenty years, 
but he won' have ter wait fer me mo' 'n 'bout twenty 
seconds. Eve'y one er you pick yo' man ! We '11 
open de do', an' we '11 give some w'ite men a chance 
ter be sorry dey ever started dis fuss ! " 

The door was thrown open suddenly, and through 
it rushed a dozen or more black figures, armed with 
knives, pistols, or clubbed muskets. Taken by sudden 
surprise, the white people stood motionless for a mo- 
ment, but the approaching negroes had scarcely cov- 
ered half the distance to which the heat of the flames 
had driven back the mob, before they were greeted 
with a volley that laid them all low but two. One of 



"MINE ENEMY, O MINE ENEMY! 309 

these, dazed by the fate of his companions, turned 
instinctively to flee, but had scarcely faced around 
before he fell, pierced in the back by a dozen bul- 
lets. 

Josh Green, the tallest and biggest of them all, 
had not apparently been touched. Some of the crowd 
paused in involuntary admiration of this black giant, 
famed on the wharves for his strength, sweeping down 
upon them, a smile upon his face, his eyes lit up with 
a rapt expression which seemed to take him out of 
mortal ken. This impression was heightened by his 
apparent immunity from the shower of lead which 
less susceptible persons had continued to pour at 
him. 

Armed with a huge bowie-knife, a relic of the civil 
war, which he had carried on his person for many 
years for a definite purpose, and which he had kept 
sharpened to a razor edge, he reached the line of the 
crowd. All but the bravest shrank back. Like a 
wedge he dashed through the mob, which parted in- 
stinctively before him, and all oblivious of the rain of 
lead which fell around him, reached the point where 
Captain McBane, the bravest man in the party, stood 
waiting to meet him. A pistol-flame flashed in his 
face, but he went on, and raising his powerful right 
arm, buried his knife to the hilt in the heart of his 
enemy. When the crowd dashed forward to wreak 
vengeance on his dead body, they found him with a 
smile still upon his face. 

One of the two died as the fool dieth. Which was 
it, or was it both ? " Vengeance is mine," saith the 
Lord, and it had not been left to Him. But they that 
do violence must expect to suffer violence. McBane's 
death was merciful, compared with the nameless 



310 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

horrors he had heaped upon the hundreds of helpless 
mortals who had fallen into his hands during his 
career as a contractor of convict labor. 

Sobered by this culminating tragedy, the mob 
shortly afterwards dispersed. The flames soon com- 
pleted their work, and this handsome structure, the 
fruit of old Adam Miller's industry, the monument of 
his son's philanthropy, a promise of good things for 
the future of the city, lay smouldering in ruins, a 
melancholy witness to the fact that our boasted civili- 
zation is but a thin veneer, which cracks and scales off 
at the first impact of primal passions. 



XXXVI 

FIAT JUSTITIA 

By the light of the burning building, which illu- 
minated the street for several blocks, Major Carteret 
and Ellis made their way rapidly until they turned 
into the street where the major lived. Reaching the 
house, Carteret tried the door and found it locked. A 
vigorous ring at the bell brought no immediate re- 
sponse. Carteret had begun to pound impatiently upon 
the door, when it was cautiously opened by Miss Pem- 
berton, who was pale, and trembled with excitement. 

" Where is Olivia? " asked the major. 

" She is upstairs, with Doclie and Mrs. Albright's 
hospital nurse. Dodie has the croup. Virgie ran 
away after the riot broke out. Sister Olivia had sent 
for Mammy Jane, but she did not come. Mrs. Al- 
bright let her white nurse come over." 

" I '11 go up at once," said the major anxiously. 
" Wait for me, Ellis, — I '11 be down in a few minutes." 

" Oh, Mr. Ellis," exclaimed Clara, coming toward 
him with both hands extended, " can nothing be done 
to stop this terrible affair ? " 

" I wish I could do something," he murmured fer- 
vently, taking both her trembling hands in his own 
broad palms, where they rested with a surrendering 
trustfulness which he has never since had occasion to 
doubt. " It has gone too far, already, and the end, 
I fear, is not yet ; but it cannot grow much worse." 



312 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

The editor hurried upstairs. Mrs. Carteret, wear- 
ing a worried and haggard look, met him at the thresh- 
old of the nursery. 

" Dodie is ill," she said. " At three o'clock, when 
the trouble began, I was over at Mrs. Albright's, — I 
had left Virgie with the baby. When I came back, 
she and all the other servants had gone. They had 
heard that the white people were going to kill all the 
negroes, and fled to seek safety. I found Dodie 
lying in a draught, before an open window, gasping 
for breath. I ran back to Mrs. Albright's, — I had 
found her much better to-day, — and she let her nurse 
come over. The nurse says that Dodie is threatened 
with membranous croup." 

" Have you sent for Dr. Price ? " 

" There was no one to send, — the servants were 
gone, and the nurse was afraid to venture out into the 
street. I telephoned for Dr. Price, and found that he 
was out of town ; that he had gone up the river this 
morning to attend a patient, and would not be back 
until to-morrow. Mrs. Price thought that he had 
anticipated some kind of trouble in the town to-day, 
and had preferred to be where he could not be called 
upon to assume any responsibility." 

" I suppose you tried Dr. Ashe ? " 

" I could not get him, nor any one else, after that 
first call. The telephone service is disorganized on 
account of the riot. We need medicine and ice. The 
drugstores are all closed on account of the riot, and 
for the same reason we could n't get any ice." 

Major Carteret stood beside the brass bedstead 
upon which his child was lying, — his only child, 
around whose curly head clustered all his hopes ; 
upon whom all his life for the past year had been cen- 



FIAT JUSTITIA 313 

tred. lie stooped over the bed, beside which the nurse 
had stationed herself. She was wiping the child's face, 
which was red and swollen and covered with moisture, 
the nostrils working rapidly, and the little patient 
vainly endeavoring at intervals to cough up the ob- 
struction to his breathing. 

" Is it serious ? " he inquired anxiously. He had 
always thought of the croup as a childish ailment, 
that yielded readily to proper treatment ; but the 
child's evident distress impressed him with sudden 
fear. 

" Dangerous," replied the young woman laconically. 
" You came none too soon. If a doctor is n't got at 
once, the child will die, — and it must be a good 
doctor." 

" Whom can I call? " he asked. " You know them 
all, I suppose. Dr. Price, our family physician, is 
out of town." 

" Dr. Ashe has charge of his cases when he is away," 
replied the nurse. " If you can't find him, try Dr. 
Hooper. The child is growing worse every minute. 
On your way back you 'd better get some ice, if pos- 
sible." 

The major hastened downstairs. 

"Don't wait for me, Ellis," he said. "I shall be 
needed here for a while. I '11 get to the office as soon 
as possible. Make up the paper, and leave another 
stick out for me to the last minute, but fill it up in 
case I 'm not on hand by twelve. We must get the 
paper out early in the morning." 

Nothing but a matter of the most vital importance 
would have kept Major Carteret away from his office 
this night. Upon the -presentation to the outer world 
of the story of this riot would depend the attitude of 



314 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

the great civilized public toward the events of the last 
ten hours. The Chronicle was the source from which 
the first word would be expected ; it would give the 
people of Wellington their cue as to the position which 
they must take in regard to this distressful affair, 
which had so far transcended in ferocity the most ex- 
treme measures which the conspirators had anticipated. 
The burden of his own responsibility weighed heavily 
upon him, and could not be shaken off ; but he must 
do first the duty nearest to him, — he must first attend 
to his child. 

Carteret hastened from the house, and traversed 
rapidly the short distance to Dr. Ashe's office. Far 
down the street he could see the glow of the burning 
hospital, and he had scarcely left his own house when 
the fusillade of shots, fired when the colored men 
emerged from the burning building, was audible. 
Carteret would have hastened back to the scene of 
the riot, to see what was now going on, and to make 
another effort to stem the tide of bloodshed ; but 
before the dread of losing his child, all other interests 
fell into the background. Not all the negroes in 
TVellino'ton could weio'h in the balance for one instant 
against the life of the feeble child now gasping for 
breath in the house behind him. 

Reaching the house, a vigorous ring brought the 
doctor's wife to the door. 

" Good - evening, Mrs. Ashe. Is the doctor at 
home?" 

" No, Major Carteret. He was called to attend Mrs. 
TTells, who was taken suddenly ill, as a result of the 
trouble this afternoon. He will be there all night, no 
doubt." 

" My child is very ill, and I must find some one." 



FIAT JUSTITIA 315 

" Try Dr. Yates. His house is only four doors 
away." 

A ring at Dr. Yates's door brought out a young 
man. 

" Is Dr. Yates in ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

"Can I see him?" 

" You might see him, sir, but that would be all. 
His horse was frightened by the shooting on the 
streets, and ran away and threw the doctor, and broke 
his right arm. I have just set it ; he will not be able 
to attend any patients for several weeks. He is old 
and nervous, and the shock was great." 

" Are you not a physician ? " asked Carteret, looking 
at the young man keenly. He was a serious, gentle- 
manly looking young fellow, whose word might prob- 
ably be trusted. 

" Yes, I am Dr. Evans, Dr. Yates's assistant. I 'm 
really little more than a student, but I '11 do what I 
can." 

" My only child is sick with the croup, and requires 
immediate attention." 

" I ought to be able to handle a case of the croup," 
answered Dr. Evans, " at least in the first stages. I '11 
go with you, and stay by the child, and if the case is 
beyond me, I may keep it in check until another 
physician comes." 

He stepped back into another room, and returning 
immediately with his hat, accompanied Carteret 
homeward. The riot had subsided ; even the glow 
from the smouldering hospital was no longer visible. 
It seemed that the city, appalled at the tragedy, had 
suddenly awakened to a sense of its own crime. Here 
and there a dark face, emerging cautiously from some 



316 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

hiding-place, peered from behind fence or tree, but 
shrank hastily away at the sight of a white face. The 
negroes of Wellington, with the exception of Josh 
Green and his party, had not behaved bravely on 
this critical day in their history ; but those who had 
fought were dead, to the last man ; those who had 
sought safety in flight or concealment were alive to 
tell the tale. 

" We pass right by Dr. Thompson's," said Dr. 
Evans. " If you have n't spoken to him, it might be 
well to call him for consultation, in case the child 
should be very bad." 

" Go on ahead," said Carteret, " and I '11 get him." 

Evans hastened on, while Carteret sounded the old- 
fashioned knocker upon the doctor's door. A gray- 
haired negro servant, clad in a dress suit and wearing 
a white tie, came to the door. 

" De doctuh, suh," he replied politely to Carteret's 
question, " has gone ter ampitate de ahm er a gent'e- 
man who got one er his bones smashed wid a pistol 
bullet in de — fightin' dis atternoon, suh. He's jes' 
gone, suh, an' lef wo'd dat he 'd be gone a' hour er 
mo', suh." 

Carteret hastened homeward. He could think of 
no other available physicran. Perhaps no other 
would be needed, but if so, he could find out from 
Evans whom it was best to call. 

When he reached the child's room, the young 
doctor was bending anxiously over the little frame. 
The little lips had become livid, the little nails, lying 
against the white sheet, were blue. The child's ef- 
forts to breathe were most distressing, and each gasp 
cut the father like a knife. Mrs. Carteret was. weep- 
ing hysterically. 



FIAT JUSTITIA 317 

" How is he, doctor ? " asked the major. 

" He is very low," replied the young man. " No- 
thing short of tracheotomy — an operation to open 
the windpipe — will relieve him. Without it, in half 
or three quarters of an hour he will be unable to 
breathe. It is a delicate operation, a mistake in 
which would be as fatal as the disease. I have nei- 
ther the knowledge nor the experience to attempt it, 
and your child's life is too valuable for a student 
to practice upon. Neither have I the instruments 
here." 

" What shall we do ? " demanded Carteret. " We 
have called all the best doctors, and none are avail- 
able." 

The young doctor's brow was wrinkled with 
thought. He knew a doctor who could perform the 
operation. He had heard, also, of a certain event at 
Carteret's house some months before, when an un- 
welcome physician had been excluded from a consul- 
tation, — but it was the last chance. 

" There is but one other doctor in town who has 
performed the operation, so far as I know," he de- 
clared, " and that is Dr. Miller. If you can get him, 
he can save your child's life." 

Carteret hesitated involuntarily. All the inci- 
dents, all the arguments, of the occasion when he had 
refused to admit the colored doctor to his house, 
came up vividly before his memory. He had acted 
in accordance with his lifelong beliefs, and had 
carried his point ; but the present situation was dif- 
ferent, — this was a case of imperative necessity, and 
every other interest or consideration must give way 
before the imminence of his child's peril. That the 
doctor would refuse the call, he did not imagine : it 



318 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

would be too great an honor for a negro to decline, — 
unless some bitterness might have grown out of the 
proceedings of the afternoon. That this doctor was 
a man of some education he knew ; and he had been 
told that he was a man of fine feeling, — for a negro, — 
and might easily have taken to heart the day's events. 
Nevertheless, he could hardly refuse a professional call, 
— professional ethics would require him to respond. 
Carteret had no reason to suppose that Miller had 
ever learned of what had occurred at the house during 
Dr. Burns's visit to Wellington. The major himself 
had never mentioned the controversy, and no doubt 
the other gentlemen had been equally silent. 

" I '11 go for him myself," said Dr. Evans, noting 
Carteret's hesitation and suspecting its cause. " I 
can do nothing here alone, for a little while, and I 
may be able to bring the doctor back with me. He 
likes a difficult operation." 

It seemed an age ere the young doctor returned, 
though it was really only a few minutes. The nurse 
did what she could to relieve the child's sufferings, 
which grew visibly more and more acute. The 
mother, upon the other side of the bed, held one of 
the baby's hands in her own, and controlled her 
feelings as best she might. Carteret paced the floor 
anxiously, going every few seconds to the head of the 
stairs to listen for Evans's footsteps on the piazza 
without. At last the welcome sound was audible, and 
a few strides took him to the door. 

" Dr. Miller is at home, sir," reported Evans, as he 
came in. " He says that he was called to your house 
once before, by a third person who claimed authority 
to act, and that he was refused admittance. He de- 



FIAT JUSTITIA 319 

clares that he will not consider such a call unless it 
come from you personally." 

"That is true, quite true," replied Carteret. " His 
position is a just one. I will go at once. Will — 
will — my child live until I can get Miller here ? " 

" He can live for half an hour without an opera- 
tion. Beyond that I could give you little hope." 

Seizing his hat, Carteret dashed out of the yard 
and ran rapidly to Miller's house ; ordinarily a walk 
of six or seven minutes, Carteret covered it in three, 
and was almost out of breath when he rang the bell 
of Miller's front door. 

The ring was answered by the doctor in person. 

" Dr. Miller, I believe ? " asked Carteret. 

" Yes, sir." 

" I am Major Carteret. My child is seriously ill, 
and you are the only available doctor who can perform 
the necessary operation." 

" Ah ! You have tried all the others, — and then 
you come to me ! " 

" Yes, I do not deny it," admitted the major, biting 
his lip. He had not counted on professional jealousy 
as an obstacle to be met. " But I have come to you, 
as a physician, to engage your professional services 
for my child, — my only child. I have confidence in 
your skill, or I should not have come to you. I re- 
quest — nay, I implore you to lose no more time, but 
come with me at once ! My child's life is hanging by 
a thread, and you can save it ! " 

" Ah ! " replied the other, " as a father whose 
only child's life is in danger, you implore me, of all 
men in the world, to come and save it ! " 

There was a strained intensity in the doctor's low 
voice that struck Carteret, in spite of his own pre- 



320 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

occupation. He thought he heard, too, from the ad- 
joining room, the sound of some one sobbing softly. 
There was some mystery here which he could not 
fathom unaided. 

Miller turned to the door behind him and threw 
it open. On the white cover of a low cot lay a childish 
form in the rigidity of death, and by it knelt, with 
her back to the door, a woman whose shoulders were 
shaken by the violence of her sobs. Absorbed in her 
grief, she did not turn, or give any sign that she had 
recognized the intrusion. 

" There, Major Carteret ! " exclaimed Miller, with 
the tragic eloquence of despair, " there lies a speci- 
men of your handiwork ! There lies my only child, 
laid low by a stray bullet in this riot which you and 
your paper have fomented ; struck down as much 
by your hand as though you had held the weapon 
with which his life was taken ! " 

" My God ! " exclaimed Carteret, struck with hor- 
ror. " Is the child dead ? " 

"There he lies," continued the other, " an innocent 
child, — there he lies dead, his little life snuffed out 
like a candle, because you and a handful of your 
friends thought you must override the laws and run 
this town at any cost ! — and there kneels his mother, 
overcome by grief. T\ r e are alone in the house. It 
is not safe to leave her unattended. My dut}^ calls 
me here, by the side of my dead child and my suffer- 
ing wife ! I cannot go with you. There is a just 
God in heaven! — as you have sown, so may you 
reap ! " 

Carteret possessed a narrow, but a logical mind, 
and except when confused or blinded by his preju- 
dices, had always tried to be a just man. In the agony 



FIAT JUSTITIA 321 

of his own predicament, — in the horror of the situa- 
tion at Miller's house, — for a moment the veil of 
race prejudice was rent in twain, and he saw things 
as they were, in their correct proportions and rela- 
tions, — saw clearly and convincingly that he had no 
standing here, in the presence of death, in the home 
of this stricken family. Miller's refusal to go with 
him was pure, elemental justice ; he could not blame 
the doctor for his stand. He was indeed conscious of 
a certain involuntary admiration for a man who held 
in his hands the power of life and death, and could 
use it, with strict justice, to avenge his own wrongs. 
In Dr. Miller's place he would have done the same 
thing. Miller had spoken the truth, — as he had 
sown, so must he reap ! He could not expect, could 
not ask, this father to leave his own household at such 
a moment. 

Pressing his lips together with grim courage, and 
bowing mechanically, as though to Fate rather than 
the physician, Carteret turned and left the house. At 
a rapid pace he soon reached home. There was yet a 
chance for his child : perhaps some one of the other 
doctors had come ; perhaps, after all, the disease had 
taken a favorable turn, — Evans was but a young 
doctor, and might have been mistaken. Surely, with 
doctors all around him, his child would not be per- 
mitted to die for lack of medical attention ! He found 
the mother, the doctor, and the nurse still grouped, 
as he had left them, around the suffering child. 

" How is he now ? " he asked, in a voice that sounded 
like a groan. 

" No better," replied the doctor ; " steadily grow- 
ing worse. He can go on probably for twenty minutes 
longer without an operation." 



322 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Where is the doctor ? " demanded Mrs. Carteret, 
looking eagerly toward the door. " You should have 
brought him right upstairs. There 's not a minute to 
spare ! Phil, Phil, our child will die ! " 

Carteret's heart swelled almost to bursting with an 
intense pity. Even his own great sorrow became of 
secondary importance beside the grief which his wife 
must soon feel at the inevitable loss of her only child. 
And it was his fault ! Would that he could risk his 
own life to spare her and to save the child ! 

Briefly, and as gently as might be, he stated the 
result of his errand. The doctor had refused to come, 
for a good reason. He could not ask him again. 

Young Evans felt the logic of the situation, which 
Carteret had explained sufficiently. To the nurse it 
was even clearer. If she or any other woman had 
been in the doctor's place, she would have given the 
same answer. 

Mrs. Carteret did not stop to reason. In such a 
crisis a mother's heart usurps the place of intellect. 
For her, at that moment, there were but two facts 
in all the world. Her child lay dying. There was 
within the town, and within reach, a man who could 
save him. With an agonized cry she rushed wildly 
from the room. 

Carteret sought to follow her, but she flew down 
the long stairs like a wild thing. The least misstep 
might have precipitated her to the bottom ; but ere 
Carteret, with a remonstrance on his lips, had scarcely 
reached the uppermost step, she had thrown open the 
front door and fled precipitately out into the night. 



XXXVII 

THE SISTERS 

Miller's doorbell rang loudly, insistently, as though 
demanding a response. Absorbed in his own grief, 
into which he had relapsed upon Carteret's departure, 
the sound was an unwelcome intrusion. Surely the 
man could not be coming back ! If it were some one 
else — What else might happen to the doomed town 
concerned him not. His child was dead, — his dis- 
tracted wife could not be left alone. 

The doorbell rang — clamorously — appealingly. 
Through the long hall and the closed door of the 
room where he sat, he could hear some one knocking, 
and a faint voice calling. 

" Open, for God's sake, open ! " 

It was a woman's voice, — the voice of a woman in 
distress. Slowly Miller rose and went to the door, 
which he opened mechanically. 

A lady stood there, so near the image of his own 
wife, whom he had just left, that for a moment he was 
well-nigh startled. A little older, perhaps, a little 
fairer of complexion, but with the same form, the 
same features, marked by the same wild grief. She 
wore a loose wrapper, which clothed her like the drap- 
ery of a statue. Her long dark hair, the counterpart of 
his wife's, had fallen down, and hung disheveled about 
her shoulders. There was blood upon her knuckles, 
where she had beaten with them upon the door. 



324 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

" Dr. Miller," she panted, breathless from her flight 
and laying her hand upon his arm appealingly, — when 
he shrank from the contact she still held it there, — 
" Dr. Miller, you will come and save my child ? You 
know what it is to lose a child ! I am so sorry about 
your little boy ! You will come to mine ! " 

" Your sorrow comes too late, madam," he said 
harshly. " My child is dead. I charged your husband 
with his murder, and he could not deny it. Why 
should I save your husband's child ? " 

" Ah, Dr. Miller ! " she cried, with his wife's voice, 
— she never knew how much, in that dark hour, she 
owed to that resemblance — " it is my child, and I 
have never injured you. It is my child, Dr. Miller, 
my only child. I brought it into the world at the 
risk of my own life ! I have nursed it, I have watched 
over it, I have prayed for it, — and it now lies dying ! 
Oh, Dr. Miller, dear Dr. Miller, if you have a heart, 
come and save my child ! " 

" Madam," he answered more gently, moved in 
spite of himself, " my heart is broken. My people 
lie dead upon the streets, at the hands of yours. The 
work of my life is in ashes, — and, yonder, stretched 
out in death, lies my own child ! God ! woman, you 
ask too much of human nature ! Love, duty, sorrow, 
justice, call me here. I cannot go ! " 

She rose to her full height. " Then you are a 
murderer," she cried wildly. " His blood be on your 
head, and a mother's curse beside ! " 

The next moment, with a sudden revulsion of feel- 
ing, she had thrown herself at his feet, — at the feet 
of a negro, this proud white woman, — and was clasp- 
ing his knees wildly. 

" O God ! " she prayed, in tones which quivered 



THE SISTERS 325 

with anguish, " pardon my husband's sins, and my 
own, and move this man's hard heart, by the blood of 
thy Son, who died to save us all ! " 

It was the last appeal of poor humanity. When 
the pride of intellect and caste is broken ; when we 
grovel in the dust of humiliation ; when sickness 
and sorrow come, and the shadow of death falls upon 
us, and there is no hope elsewhere, — we turn to God, 
who sometimes swallows the insult, and answers the 
appeal. 

Miller raised the lady to her feet. He had been 
deeply moved, — but he had been more deeply injured. 
This was his wife's sister, — ah, yes ! but a sister who 
had scorned and slighted and ignored the existence of 
his wife for all her life. Only Miller, of all the world, 
could have guessed what this had meant to Janet, 
and he had merely divined it through the clairvoyant 
sympathy of love. This woman could have no claim 
upon him because of this unacknowledged relation- 
ship. Yet, after all, she was his wife's sister, his 
child's kinswoman. She was a fellow creature, too, 
and in distress. 

" Rise, madam," he said, with a sudden inspiration, 
lifting her gently. " I will listen to you on one con- 
dition. My child lies dead in the adjoining room, his 
mother by his side. Go in there, and make your 
request of her. I will abide by her decision." 

The two women stood confronting each other across 
the body of the dead child, mute witness of this first 
meeting between two children of the same father. 
Standing thus face to face, each under the stress of 
the deepest emotions, the resemblance between them 
was even more striking than it had seemed to Miller 



326 THE MARROW OF TRADITION 

when he had admitted Mrs. Carteret to the house. 
But Death, the great leveler, striking upon the one 
hand and threatening upon the other, had wrought a 
marvelous transformation in the bearing of the two 
women. The sad-eyed Janet towered erect, with 
menacing aspect, like an avenging goddess. The 
other, whose pride had been her life, stood in the 
attitude of a trembling suppliant. 

" You have come here," cried Janet, pointing with 
a tragic gesture to the dead child, — " you, to gloat over 
your husband's work. All my life you have hated 
and scorned and despised me. Your presence here in- 
sults me and my dead. What are you doing here ? " 

" Mrs. Miller," returned Mrs. Carteret tremulously, 
dazed for a moment by this outburst, and clasping her 
hands with an imploring gesture, " my child, my only 
child, is dying, and your husband alone can save his 
life. Ah, let me have my child," she moaned, heart- 
rendingly. " It is my only one — my sweet child — 
my ewe lamb ! " 

" This was my only child ! " replied the other 
mother ; " and yours is no better to die than mine ! " 

" You are young," said Mrs. Carteret, " and may 
yet have many children, — this is my only hope ! If 
you have a human heart, tell your husband to come 
with me. He leaves it to you ; he will do as you 
command." 

" Ah," cried Janet, " I have a human heart, and 
therefore I will not let him go. My child is dead -*- 
O God, my child, my child ! " 

She threw herself down by the bedside, sobbing 
hysterically. The other woman knelt beside her, and 
put her arm about her neck. For a moment Janet, 
absorbed in her grief, did not repulse her. 



THE SISTERS 327 

" Listen," pleaded Mrs. Carteret. " You will not 
let my baby die ? You are my sister ; — the child is 
your own near kin ! " 

" My child was nearer," returned Janet, rising 
asrain to her feet and shaking off the other woman's 
arm. " He was my son, and I have seen him die. I 
have been your sister for twenty-five years, and you 
have only now, for the first time, called me so ! " 

" Listen — sister," returned Mrs. Carteret. Was 
there no way to move this woman ? Her child lay 
dying, if he were not dead already. She would tell 
everything, and leave the rest to God. If it would 
save her child, she would shrink at no sacrifice. 
Whether the truth would still further incense Janet, 
or move her to mercy, she could not tell ; she would 
leave the issue to God. 

" Listen, sister ! " she said. " I have a confession 
to make. You are my lawful sister. My father was 
married to your mother. You are entitled to his 
name, and to half his estate." 

Janet's eyes flashed with bitter scorn. 

" And you have robbed me all these years, and now 
tell me that as a reason why I should forgive the 
murder of my child? " 

" No, no ! " cried the other wildly, fearing the 
worst. " I have known of it only a few weeks, — 
since my Aunt Polly's death. I had not meant to rob 
you, — I had meant to make restitution. Sister! for 
our father's sake, who did you no wrong, give me 
my child's life ! " 

Janet's eyes slowly filled with tears — bitter tears — 
burning tears. For a moment even her grief at her 
child's loss dropped to second place in her thoughts. 
This, then, was the recognition for which, all her life, 



328 THE MARROW OF TRADITION. 

she had longed in secret. It had come, after many- 
days, and in larger measure than she had dreamed ; 
but it had come, not with frank kindliness and sisterly- 
love, but in a storm of blood and tears ; not freely 
given, from an open heart, but extorted from a reluc- 
tant conscience by the agony of a mother's fears. Janet 
had obtained her heart's desire, and now that it was 
at her lips, found it but apples of Sodom, filled with 
dust and ashes ! 

" Listen ! " she cried, dashing her tears aside. " I 
have but one word for you, — one last word, — and then 
I hope never to see your face again ! My mother died 
of want, and I was brought up by the hand of charity. 
Now, when I have married a man who can supply my 
needs, you offer me back the money which you and 
your friends have robbed me of ! You imagined that 
the shame of being a negro swallowed up every other 
ignominy, — and in your eyes I am a negro, though I 
am your sister, and you are white, and people have 
taken me for you on the streets, — and you, therefore, 
left me nameless all my life ! Now, when an honest 
man has given me a name of which I can be proud, 
you offer me the one of which you robbed me, and of 
which I can make no use. For twenty-five years I, 
poor, despicable fool, would have kissed your feet for 
a word, a nod, a smile. Now, when this tardy recog- 
nition comes, for which I have waited so long, it is 
tainted with fraud and crime and blood, and I must 
pay for it with my child's life ! " 

" And I must forfeit that of mine, it seems, for with- 
holding it so long," sobbed the other, as, tottering, she 
turned to go. " It is but just." 

" Stay — do not go yet ! " commanded Janet im- 
periously, her pride still keeping back her tears. " I 



THE SISTERS 329 

have not done. I throw you back your father's name, 
your father's wealth, your sisterly recognition. I 
want none of them, — they are bought too dear ! ah, 
God, they are bought too dear ! But that you may 
know that a woman may be foully wronged, and yet 
may have a heart to feel, even for one who has injured 
her, you may have your child's life, if my husband 
can save it ! Will," she said, throwing open the door 
into the next room, " go with her ! " 

" God will bless you for a noble woman ! " exclaimed 
Mrs. Carteret. " You do not mean all the cruel things 
you have said, — ah, no ! I will see you again, and 
make you take them back ; I cannot thank you now ! 
Oh, doctor, let us go ! I pray God we may not be too 
late!" 

Together they went out into the night. Mrs. Car- 
teret tottered under the stress of her emotions, and 
would have fallen, had not Miller caught and sus- 
tained her with his arm until they reached the house, 
where he turned over her fainting form to Carteret 
at the door. 

"Is the child still alive ? " asked Miller. 

" Yes, thank God," answered the father, " but 
nearly gone." 

" Come on up, Dr. Miller," called Evans from the 
head of the stairs. " There 's time enough, but none 
to spare." 



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